Sunday, August 9, 2015

Everybody Needs a Good Friend

Here it is Sunday again.
The weekend passed so quickly I hardly knew it. One of the best parts of this weekend was a visit with a former student of mine who is now one of my dearest friends. We both agreed we could have talked for many more hours if we had the time even though we don't see each other often.

Those are the friends we cling to in our lives and if we are lucky we never let them go. In my youth, I did not make the effort to hold on to friends, even those I thought about often, and I have some regrets about that. I can't change the past, but I do make a big effort to keep in touch with people I meet now, people who hit a note with me that resonates even when they are not near.

When we are bombarded with all the "bad news" of the world, and we might think that everyone is an enemy, if we are open to meeting others and listening to them, we see a different world. As my friend, Rebecca, and I discussed on Saturday, sometimes people are suspicious of generosity from others. They are skeptical of someone who is kind or giving. They wonder, "What does she want from me?"

I have experienced that reaction from writers when I reached out to them to help them promote their books or write an article about them. I've met some types who were so suspicious they refused my offer. As my personality type is one who doesn't get angry but feels pity for those people, I immediately wonder why they think that way. Could it be that their self-esteem is low and they can't imagine anyone wanting to do something for them without some payback?

Most writers I meet have many of the same issues with themselves as I do. We beat up on ourselves because we are not disciplined enough to write everyday. We don't submit our work. We never think it is ready to send out. We say we don't have time for our passion but will spend our time cleaning house, doing laundry and all the things we hate to do, while avoiding putting ourselves in a chair and picking up a pen or hitting the keyboard. 

We are not bad, lazy, or worthless people, and we need community with other writers to help us see that we all have similar problems. We have our needs that might not be exactly like those of others, but it helps to vent with fellow writers. 

So many of my good friends are students who took my classes in the past 8 years. In my classes we write about ourselves, share our stories and bond in a lasting way. Sometimes we cry or laugh out loud, but that is okay, too.  

Many of my friends are women I met when I took my first writing classes. For twenty years I have shared my sadness, my happiness, my successes and my failures with my fellow writers in my literary community. Some of my friends I've met through affiliation with North Carolina Writers' Network West. They don't live close to me, but we keep in touch. 

One of the highlights of this weekend was hearing the voice of a former student of mine, Staci Bell, as she called to tell me a poem and a flash fiction piece she has been wanting to place were both accepted for publication. One is for an anthology about wolves.

I am as happy for her as I would be if it were my writing that had been accepted. I know that feeling when a stranger reads your work and really likes it. When they like it well enough to publish it in a book or magazine to be read by many people, it feels like seeing your name up on a marquee on Broadway, especially when you have not had that before. 

Friends come in many ways and at any time. You never know how a person can influence your life, can help you through hard times, will need your help one day, and how much you can come to love them. Be generous to others, and they will surprise you with their own caring. 

My friends give to others in whatever way they can. 
My neighbor cooks once a week for a free noonday meal for those who need fellowship and nutrition for their bodies. Another friend, in her eighties, says cooking for others is her ministry. (To minister: to give service, care or aid; attend, as to wants or necessities.)

Maybe we can all ask ourselves what is our ministry to others? We don't have to go to church or have a calling from God to minister. 

I saw a little boy on Sunday Morning who lost his mother recently. He gives out tiny little toys to people on the street to see them smile. He just wants to make people smile and not be sad. We never know when the smallest thing can make a difference.(This story reminds me of the Little Drummer Boy)

My friends and other kind people give me hope that this world is much better than the TV news would have us believe
What do you think? Is human kind as bad as what is seen on television?  Do you think our parents thought the world was in deep trouble and feared for their children's future?


DJan said...

I also saw that little boy on TV handing out toys and looked into his face. He's trying to find a way through his loss by giving to others, and it's definitely inspiring. I just love his Southern accent and could have listened to him for a long time. I'm also trying to find what my mission is, as I move through this later stage of my life. Thank you for your inspiration, too. :-)

Becky Cortino said...

Great post filled with so many good thoughts, Glenda! Thank you for what you share, and all you do to encourage, help and support writers -- a ministry, indeed. Thank you for that. Good friends add so much dimension to our stories don't they?

Glenda C. Beall said...

Djan, that little orphan boy is from my native state, Georgia, I believe. Yes, that accent is deep south. He was precious and is helping others in order to feel less sad himself. It broke my heart to think of him growing up without either of his parents. Thankfully, he has the aunt who cares for him. I thought the reporter did a wonderful job interviewing him.
I know you are going through a transition period now. I will be making some changes in my own life in the coming months, but teaching writing to senior adults is my passion now, and working with writers of all ages is what I enjoy most. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Hi Becky,
Thank you for checking out my blog today. I am happy I met you a few years ago. I enjoy following you on FB where I see some of the good work you do with your writing. I appreciate your kind words. Stop by again soon.

Kathleen Ellen Schofield said...

You are a great friend, Glenda. Love ya.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I'm glad you and your friend could get together and have a great time. I'm proud of Stacy getting published. I always enjoy reading your life stories and appreciate very much your supporting all of us writers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenda--
Oh, it was so lovely to spend time with you! Like you said, we could have talked and philosophized for hours:) My mother was just saying today how we humans were meant to be in relationships. I treasure ours. I love that I can be away for months or longer, yet when we come together we pick up right where we left off. May you continue to be blessed with wonderful friends near and far and many successful students:)

Glenda C. Beall said...

Thank you, Rebecca. I hope your trip with Lois for the El Camino is all you and she want it to be. I look forward to hearing more about it when you come home.