“Soul friendships are mysterious and wondrous gifts from God.” ~Susan A. PurnellIn honor of this month’s theme, The Incredible Blessing of Soul Friendships, I’M THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE phase two of Soul Alive Women. Our Virtual Home: the SOUL BE – FRIENDING COMMUNITY, a safe, online Soul – Honoring Learning Space designed to inspire and encourage women in the transformational process of Be – Friending our Soul & the Souls of others as we live into the fullness of our uniquely designed God-given life. I invite you to be part of this Soul Be – Friending Community of Women – women who are paving the way for women of this generation and generations to come to embrace A Whole New Way of Living into our Aging Years. “It is in awakening and exploring the rich and opaque inner landscape that the ‘anam-cara’ experience illuminates the mystery and kindness of the divine.” ~John O’ Donohue
Maybe you have experienced something similar to this in the past. You come across a word or a term that quickens your attention. You think to yourself ‘that it is a lovely concept’ but on some level you know that you are just glimpsing the fringe of the infinite magnitude of the richness of its deeper meaning.
This was my experience in the 90’s when a dear person, Bishop Andersen [of the Episcopal Church], introduced me to John O’ Donohue’s book Anam Cara. In reading this book, not only did John O’ Donohue become one of my all-time favorites among authors and poets, but the title of his book, and of course its central theme, Anam Cara, enthralled me. Its meaning in Gaelic, Soul Friend, seemed simple enough. But what exactly did a ‘Soul Friendship,’ as O’Donohue painted it, taste like and feel like in my everyday comings and goings in life? As I read the words about Anam-Cara, my Soul consistently was quickened, but when I attempted to imagine the experience of it, the depth of its richness escaped me.
Little did I know that I would receive a letter years later, at Easter Time 2011, that would lead me to the incredible blessing of experiencing, from the inside out, the mysterious and wondrous deep meaning of Anam Cara.It had been almost fifty years since Linda and I had lost track of each other. We had grown through our teenage years together as best friends through high school. Of course she was the one I asked to be my Maid of Honor at my wedding. Then, as young wives and mothers busy with the externality of navigating through our family and work lives, we lost touch. All of that seemed like a lifetime ago, yet with utter amazement, there I was reading my friend’s words in the present as if no time had lapsed. The last we knew of each other we were raising babies; now we had grown grandchildren. How could this be? I wondered as I tried to comprehend the reality of the surprised gift I was being handed. On a deeper level, my Soul was soaring with exuberant joy, knowing without question the blessed time of our reconnection had arrived.
The mysterious and wondrous blessings of this new chapter of Soul Friendship defies being encapsulated in words. As with all sacred gifts of the Soul, the Anam Cara relationship is a unique expression of Divine grace that can only be truly known by experience.
John O’ Donohue points out that ‘Many people have an Anam Cara of whom they are not truly aware. Their lack of awareness cloaks the friend’s presence and causes feelings of distance and absence.’ I say, ‘What a huge loss this is – a loss that does not need to happen.’
One of the beauties of being women at this stage of our lives is that ‘It’s Soul Time.’ It is time for us to deepen into our innate capacity to profoundly listen and fully express, in word and actions, the wisdom and desire of our Soul’s Voice. Thankfully, Linda acted on her Soul’s desire.
It is my deep hope and prayer that increasingly more women throughout our world will hear and respond to their Soul’s eternal longing to know the Divine blessing of Soul Friendships. It is in this spirit that I pray that each woman follow her Soul’s leading as to how this longing is to be nurtured and manifested, be it within the Soul Alive Women’s Soul Be-Friending Community, or in other ways.
I am thankful to be on this Soul Alive journey with each of you. As always I welcome your comments, questions, and feedback.
Guest Contributor: Linda Marley
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times.” Maybe we could say through all times and space too.
Soul connections, kindred spirits, the invisible threads are special friendships that offer trust, understanding, shared wisdoms, appreciation, and joy, and are wrapped up in the word “relationship,” in the truest sense of the word. Our life journeys present these special encounters. We sometimes overlook the possibilities and sometimes they land like a meteor.
Yes, that happened to Susan and I one day when we reconnected before our 50th high school reunion was to take place. It had been almost 50 years of separate living and meeting the challenges. When we met in person for an afternoon’s visit, it was like just two minutes had gone by. Our souls were ready for God’s gift of true friendship; the gift was poured over us with a flowing healing and joy of befriending one another all over again. It was child-like…just like being 14 again and deciding to be best friends. The friendship is mature now with our grandmotherly wisdoms shared, but with the understanding of the Holy Spirit’s help again, and this time with such a joy of knowledge of it. This gift of friendship is profound with understanding, timely because we are both insightful and humble to receive that simple word “friendship.”
Our life purpose is to learn to love, to become our best selves in the journey. The Holy Spirit is ever present though we don’t always recognize it. Children of God ever walking, stumbling, and walking/talking/feeling/learning and loving the best way we can yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I smile with the promise of tomorrow.
Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Susan, for our friendship. A friend is like a jewel, ever beautiful and ever precious.
Sincerely shared with all the Soul Alive Women,Linda Marley Almost 70 years young