Yesterday I spent two glorious hours with my oldest, dearest friend and her family. Our children scurried between the floors of her parents’ house, playing, driven by imagination, even the big boys.
Light poured in from windows on all sides. Although there was a bit of snow still in the back yard, the front yard gleamed with warm sun, and the promise of spring and the bloom that comes with it. The life that comes with it.
The kids didn’t want to leave. They – we – can’t wait to return. Her parents are like a favorite aunt and uncle to me, the cadence of their voices carrying me lovingly back to childhood.
There are friends you keep for a lifetime and friends that simply pass through. All have a purpose, a message, a lesson, a time. But the ones that endure, those are the ones that remind you who you are, who you want to be, at your best.
The ones that pass through – it’s like driving along a road with many stop signs. Eventually, you turn off to find a road with flow. The ones that last, there is flow throughout all the many years, despite brief times of silence and long times of connection.
I learned recently that the number 108 is sacred in startling ways. The individual digits: 1 represents unity, union; 0 is nothingness; 8 is everything, infinity, never-ending. So, too, the universe itself, this world, our lives, are ultimately one, empty and infinite all at once.
I wear malas as necklaces, their 108 beads actually prayerful in many Eastern religions. And in my own backyard of Judaism, 108 is a multiple of 18, the number representing life, chai.
Did you know, Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter? An official Major League Baseball baseball has 108 stitches? 108 cards in a deck of UNO cards?
The thing about 108 is that it gives you time – time to heal, time to slow down, time to recognize inherent truths. Short friendships don’t. They whip past, without even a glance, a blur like traffic on the very fast highway of life.
Long friendships, those that endure, they are slow-cooking. Braising. Seeping in the juices of life and learning, forgiveness paramount. We accept one another despite. We ride the hills of life with pleasure, with knowledge of ultimate truths.
Time to slow down. Time to let the truth seep in. Never reacting, always enduring.