Seeing the New and the Old

The blogcation saga continues…..

From  childhood days to the present……..where my friend and I  re-visit  old connections, in new contexts, at the Pacific Chapel, in the Transitional  Cardboard Cathedral,

Pacific Chapel, Cardboard Cathedral.

Pacific Chapel, Cardboard Cathedral.

and consider how our lives have changed,

and our landscapes,

The Broken Cathedral

The Broken Cathedral

yet discover we remain young at heart and *best friends forever.

(*Cautionary note: the concept of ‘best friends forever’ was not one that was part of my colonial ‘growing up’. In our social circle, at school, at church, people came and went. Some came for 3 years, some for six months, some children only came ‘home’ for school holidays; there was no ‘forever’ in relationships. There was only now and a knowing that, eventually,  everyone would leave. Yet, it is that lack of permanence in our community that, somehow, continues to hold us together, forever. )

Sunday Best

Sunday Best

Update:  It’s almost a month now since my childhood  friend came to visit and we discussed, amongst many memories, our spiritual beginnings in the Anglican Church in Fiji. Our faith journeys have taken different paths since those early years, but I continue to find great solace and peace in Anglican church surroundings. For me, stepping in to certain Anglican churches is like a home-coming.

© silkannthreades

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54 thoughts on “Seeing the New and the Old

  1. shoreacres

    Just as you and your friend have taken different paths in your faith journey, I find that my best friend and I are on quite different paths in terms of friendships and relationships. She still goes back to Minnesota every year for a week-long reunion with a dozen classmates from grade school. On the other hand, I have no contact at all with anyone from my school days, and very little with college friends.

    There are many reasons, but mobility surely is one. From about 1970 to 1990, I constantly was on the move, from one state or country to another. You’re quite right, though. During my years in Liberia, that community was extraordinarily close, very intense. But it also was isolated, and once I left, it was hard to keep in contact. Problems of communication (no computers! no skype! no cell phones!) were exacerbated by a coup and a civil war. But when I went back for six weeks for a visit, it was as if I’d never been gone a day.

    Here’s the very best story of all. When I went to Minnesota with my friend for one of her childhood-friends reunions, the group was chatting one afternoon about our interesting experiences. I mentioned that I’d been in Liberia, and worked at Phebe Hospital. An entire roomful of women turned to look at me – all of them knew, lived near or had consulted the very doctor who was my neighbor at the Phebe compound. He and his wife had lived in their town for decades. To paraphrase the bard, there are more connections in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our imaginings.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I have only been to a few reunions; like you, distance has been an issue. But even catching up with old school/college friends who live in town is not always easy and doesn’t happen as much as I would like it to. That is a wonderful story connecting Minnesota and Liberia; it is amazing when things like that happen. Have you written any posts about your time at the Phebe compound?

      Reply
  2. Leya

    ” In a temporary community, people are often very welcoming and direct, whereas in a more established community people can be reticent and slower to invite people in to their homes and hearts.” This is a fact, yes. Almost always true at least. And something to ponder about.

    How wonderful that you keep up so many of your old relationships – I think it’s very difficult to find new, lasting friends when you are grown up/middle aged. It is the childhood friends that go straight to your heart – they have known you all these years and understand you so well. Knowing what we have been through and who we once were…I have got four friends from my first school days who still meet up on every birthday we have. Our children are grown up now, but before that, we met on the children’s birthdays as well.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is harder to make friends when we are older but I think that is , as Brenda says in her comment, because of all the commitments and other worries that take up so much of our lives. We are still willing but less able. 🙂 Our time for making friends is limited which makes those earlier friendships all the more precious.
      The differences in temporary and established communities intrigue me but, in both cases, the attitude to newcomers or strangers, is probably related to some ancient question of what is best for the survival of the community. Because it is Anzac Day, my comment about survival makes me think of the intensity of comradeship formed in battle situations.

      Reply
  3. Just Add Attitude

    I think that churches of whatever faith are places of refuge and I also understand them being sources of solace. There is something meditative about the peace and stillness (at quite times) and the soaring ceilings and stained glass windows (altho I suppose not all churches have these).

    It is good to read about an enduring friendship which was first formed many decades ago. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I agree. I also love the peace in places that have had a number of different faiths on the one site. Interesting, too, are the sacred buildings which have been designed by people not of the same faith as those they are building for. Our transitional cathedral is one example. Here is another, that I would love to see one day.

      Reply
  4. Aquileana

    Beautiful post, as Many commenters have well pointed above: Faith is a Journey.
    God has Many different ways to appear. But It does Show up every single day.
    We just have to listen closely and open your eyes a little bit further up and around.
    Thanks for sharing, best wishes, Aquileana 🙂

    Reply
  5. Mary Mageau

    It’s amazing how churches, regardless of their particular spiritual leanings, all exhude a beautiful stillness. Perhaps it’s an energy field of love that grows from the visits and prayers of all who spend time within them. I enjoy sitting in these different places and soalking up their atmosphere.

    Reply
  6. Clanmother

    I do love twists and turns. Faith is a personal journey that leads us to the one conclusion – that we are connected to others in ways give meaning and joy to our existence.

    “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore

    Reply
  7. Sheryl

    I really like your insight that the lack of permanence in a community can help to hold people together. As an adult I’ve moved several times, yet some friendships have endured across time and space.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Maybe the lack of permanence encourages us to be more direct or more intense with friendship or social exchanges. In a temporary community, people are often very welcoming and direct, whereas in a more established community people can be reticent and slower to invite people in to their homes and hearts. I am glad to hear your friendships have endured.

      Reply
  8. Steve Schwartzman

    You say that your faith journeys have taken different paths, but you don’t say what your friend’s path has been. Perhaps she wouldn’t want it known, but perhaps she wouldn’t mind.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think the main difference in our faith journeys is that mine is a rather confused one. My parents are Presbyterians but there was no regular Presbyterian church (only an itinerant minister) in our small town. So I went to the Anglican Church and the Anglican Sunday School by default. I was later sent to a Presbyterian boarding school where I developed some fairly anti-Presbyterian church feelings. Then there was a time in the ‘wilderness’, until ,now, late in my life, where I have settled in to a Celtic Presbyterian tradition. However, those early Anglican influences still resonate for me. So my friend and I began our spiritual lives in the Anglican Church. Hers has continued in the Anglican framework and mine has been all over the place. Both equally interesting in their own ways.

      Reply
  9. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    an interesting insight into the “BFF” thinking here.
    the concept of fleeting you mention… maybe it’s the healthiest thing to experience as a child?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think it can be very healthy but it depends a lot on the child. It worked out fine for me, but this ‘coming and go’ proved to be devastating psychologically for my daughter.

      Reply
      1. BEAUTYCALYPSE

        😦
        that’s sad. I thought it’s rather a super relevant life lesson. But you’re right, some need to be fed this lesson with a table spoon, wilhe others with a moccha spoon.

        Reply
  10. Tiny

    I so much relate to this post. The fact that my son was growing up with the concept of constantly changing circle of friends made me to make the decision to move “permanently” to the US and finally settle down. Now he still has all the friendships he made since and a few from our time “abroad” as well. It’s nice to see them all getting married and starting families. And being friends with me too…on Facebook 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is a decision that all those who work outside their home country usually have to make at some stage. It’s not easy. It sounds as though it worked out well for you and your son. It is lovely, isn’t it, when those ‘kids’ still want to be friends with us.

      Reply
      1. Tiny

        It’s wonderful – just couple of days ago I got a newborn baby picture on FB from my son’s best friend, I’ve known him from the week we moved into the US and he was like a second son in our house for years (and our son in their house),

        Reply
  11. KerryCan

    It’s so interesting that you never expected friendships to last and, yet, they have. I suspect it says a lot about you and the way you’ve tended to your relationships.

    Reply
  12. Cynthia Reyes

    If you ever visit the Toronto area, please come visit my church. You’ll receive a very warm welcome. Read about it at: csreyes.wordpress.com (“Eater Lilies and Ringing Bells”) and you’ll see what I mean.

    Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          And I thank you for taking the time to read that post. The Anglican Cathedral and staff have had a difficult time since the earthquakes and I admire their strength and resilience.

  13. dadirri7

    those early experiences of faith and ceremony create lasting impressions Gallivanta … it warms my heart that you have connections to people from those years … I have the feelings for certain Anglican ‘things’ … like hymns, that left a big impression on me, but all the people have slipped away 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think that nearly all the hymns I know, I learned in my Anglican days. I have memories of marching up and down on our verandah at home, singing (very loudly), Onward Christian Soldiers. Most likely drove everyone to distraction with my noise. And I still to this day burst out with an occasional, What a friend we have in Jesus. 😀 I know that drives my son to a hearty complaint of ” Don’t you know any other songs, Mum!”

      Reply
  14. YellowCable

    After reading your last post and this one, they make me think of my younger years searching for who were my friends those time. The nature of lacking permanence separate us far and beyond any way to meet again. Only fun memories remain. Nice posts.

    Reply
  15. utesmile

    Everybody changes surroundings change and our lives change which is not a bad thing. Thinking back I changed a great deal, and I am very happy with it.
    I went into a church yesterday evening with my date ( he won’t be a date for long as I can see a beautiful friendship coming) and we sat there for a while and it felt so peaceful and comfortable. It was a church in South London I had never seen before.
    I do like your cardboard cathedral, so different yet so warm and bright!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How lovely that you had that time of peace and comfort together. Sounds wonderful. I am excited and happy about the changes in your life. I do like changes although some of them can be difficult, at first. Enjoy the rest of your Easter weekend.

      Reply
  16. knitnrun4sanity

    You have had such an interesting life. You must really treasure your childhood friend considering the circumstances. There is something very special about ‘old’ friends.

    Reply
  17. Juliet

    I love that simple Pacific altar, but had a lurch of the heart when I saw the picture of the broken cathedral. How special to share those spiritual roots with your friend.

    Reply

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