Musings from Two Older Women
by Ruth Major (human) and Greta
We digress from our hometown journalism this week and ponder the concept of friendship. We honor the memory of Jane Stevenson and her love of dialogue and music.
I puzzle over the depth of our relationship. Jane was a lady. Her intellect and knowledge could slice a thick-skinned tomato with nary a drop of juice remaining on the cutting board. Her arguments were presented in a formal, yet firm, manner. My persona captures an essence of Roseanne Barr from the old TV show Roseanne. I rebel at filling the lady role, sometimes priding myself on earthy directness and a down-home airs. “The Odd Couple” image flipped through my mind one day while thinking about Jane and myself.
This lady, whose body movement graced stages and classrooms in earlier years of modern dance, used her body knowledge every moment in her frailty – with a hand gesture or posture using every muscle that remained active as she moved from wheelchair to chair. Ultimate grace has never been my heavy suit; my late husband could attest to that. Our dance movements were stiff and full of wishful thinking.
The friendship between Jane and I transcended personal styles. Music, a craving to know Ultimate Truth, perhaps a desire for a kindred spirit on a deeper level brought us together.
Recently I asked a friend of fifty years, “Why are we still friends?” She retorted, “We’re soulmates.” I was startled to hear such a passionate concept from this friend. We had not shared in-depth feelings over the years. We were reserved and shy.
My husband asked a similar question a short time before his death. “Why did we stay together all of these years?” Sometimes our marital journey had been rough. I shook my head as if to clear it. “I think we were meant to be together to learn to give and receive love.” He nodded in agreement. We were both extremely shy young people, emotionally paralyzed. Jim and I were soulmates, and we helped one another toward personal completion.
How puzzling that Jane and I could have been soulmates – two very different facades, but sharing needs and gifts, two puzzle pieces meant to fit and complement, rather than match.
Jane and her husband Charles fit that description. He would boast of their differences – political, religious, personality – yet they meshed to make a complementary whole. At 95 and 99 years of age, they began each day telling one another of their love for one another, and their conversation and decisions danced in harmony.
Soulmate is a term sometimes used to designate someone with whom one has a feeling of deep and natural affinity. How fortunate we are when we meet those special friends. At times Jane and I would annoy one another. We would step back from our relationship, but ultimately we would meet once again in her lovely living room to share ideas and absorb music. The “odd couple” would return to nourish one another. I am grateful.
Perhaps that such “odd couples” exist and can learn to love one another indicates that peace is possible on a global scale, that differences can be transcended once the final pieces are placed together in harmony.