Spaghetti, Grace, and Friendship

“There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That’s a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. It is the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.” 

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Since I’ve been sharing old recipes this week, I thought it’d be perfect ending it with one of my favorites.

This spaghetti recipe can be made ahead, it’s very easy, and it’s perfect comfort food for any cold winter evening.

I think you can still make out the directions even with my over zealous trimming–just in case let me fill in some of the blanks. If you break the spaghetti noodles up before you cook them, they will be much easier to eat–never knew that until I read this recipe. Use shredded cheese–that wasn’t available back when this recipe was written. Sauté the onion and beef in oil. Add sauce, wine and spices. Simmer covered, stirring for one hour. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti and drain. Add the meat sauce with the cheese and bake in a 3 qt. casserole.

Not only can I share a recipe, I get to talk about my friend, Mary.

I’ve been lucky enough to live and work in places long enough to establish strong friendships. Mary and I started our x-ray training together in the fall of 1971. It was a two-year program and we both thought it’d be a piece of cake–pardon the cliché but it seems perfect since food has been on my mind.

It was NOT easy.

I am sure I would not have made it without Mary. My heavens we were so young, so unaware, and so unprepared for how cruel the world could be–not just professionally but personally. If you want to see the best and the worst of humanity, spend a few days in a busy radiology department. It’s hard to leave those faces and images behind at the end of the day. We’d call each other and talk it through–the tumors, the car accidents, the abused kids, and the unidentified bodies in the morgue.

It did not stop there, though.  Not only did we work together for several years after we graduated, we were there for each other as we married, as we divorced, as explored the singles scene, as she remarried, and when she gave birth to her son, Mason.

As life would have it, I was about to learn change is a constant thing and life itself sometimes takes unexpected turns. My world certainly changed the day Mary told me she and her family were moving. Oh—I cried but knew she’d been unhappy. It was time for something new. I was happy for her job at a bigger hospital and the opportunities that would make available to her.

I was pretty lost for a while. Even though she was not beside me every day she continued to influence me. She was enjoying her new job which opened my eyes to the idea there were other places to work. I knew if I stayed where I was I’d never really grow in the way I wanted to grow. I took that leap of faith and moved on, too.

It was a lot harder than I imagined. Now Mary and I were a thousand miles apart. Long distance phone calls were not part of either of one of our budgets. There were times I’d pull out one of Mary’s recipes and cook just to ease my mind and comfort my soul.

I’m not sure I want to calculate how many years she has been a huge part of my life. I think it’s close to fifty. How is that even possible? In spite of the fact years went by when we rarely talked or saw each other we remained connected in some magical mysterious way. I am so thankful–her friendship truly was and is a gift from God.

“A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don’t have to fight for because you can’t get rid of them and your heart doesn’t want them to leave anyways.” 

Shannon L. Alder

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

4 Replies to “Spaghetti, Grace, and Friendship”

  1. Loved this! So very true. Our big leap into adulthood took a great amount of confidence and we all reached out for the hand of someone who shared this experience. If we had known how cold and competitive the real world would really be, we would probably been to afraid to jump. God, in his goodness, gave us those hands to pull us up when we hit bottom.

    Like

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