We all play roles in our lives. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t true to yourself, you just show different sides in different situations and with different people. I am no less myself when I’m spending time with Charl or having coffee with old school friends or at work, but there are dimensions and depth in who I am that I don’t expose in certain company. In general, I am very choosy with my friends and the people I spend my time with. And I have never had many friends who were girls and most of the people I began to truly value in my life as I grew up were substantially older than me.
So imagine my surprise when 7 years ago, Anél entered my life – a girl from the other side of the country, born exactly 7 months before me (on 4 January 1982). I don’t really remember those early days of our friendship because it seems now like she been a part of my life forever. Her Hebrew name means “little bird” and my nickname since my year in Johannesburg was Sparrow, so a bird became a wonderful symbol of our shared beingness.
We are a dynamic team when given a task. She’s intelligent, funny, eager to learn anything and everything. Kind, but firm. We are very different people, but in many ways that matter we are very much the same. I love her dearly and value her friendship more than gold. The image is of the little present that was waiting for me at the dinner table at the Jewish festival day this past week. A tiny gesture but it moved me so much!
Such has been the way of our friendship and little unspoken traditions… the little things we do, even when means are non-existent, to show our love and appreciation for each other. Tiny presents and surprises from her to me and me to her. A bracelet, a necklace with a little bird on. Soulful words. She was the first person who intuited that lovely notebooks are a wonderful present because of the amount of writing I do. We’ve shared so much and we can both really talk and really listen. About things more important than clothes or the next movie to see… We can do that too, we’ve shared clothes and shoes, but that most important thing – our approach to living a worshipful life – we share, which makes our friendship more complete in a way that I don’t share with any of the friends I’ve had great adventures and share many interests with, or those I’ve had long histories with. Things I can discuss with none of my other friends, Anél and I can sit for hours pondering together.
She is my soul sister.
To be loved by the people we love, respect and admire the most is one of the most validating things we can ever hope to achieve. And to have a friendship like this, I count myself more blessed than most. You can go through life and never find something this special.
I am doubly blessed with my friendships ‘out in the world’ and with my wonderful brother and for each of them at various times I’ve written heartfelt messages in private or on my Facebook wall, but Anél… she’s one in a billion and for her love and friendship I am infinitely richer. This one, my dear, is for you.