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I have been thinking the last couple of days about friendship and the juxtaposition of words from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and a chant learned at a women’s retreat.

Bradbury’s book was the book group selection for September 2008, the first meeting after my job loss when emotions were still quite raw and the realization that I would no longer be with folks who had gone beyond colleague and become friends. While the book seems an unlikely source, Bradbury’s words resonated in my spirit. Of course, I am blessed to have others in my life for whom the words are just as a propos; but I felt driven to share my thoughts with a few folks.

Of the hundreds of emails I send and receive each week, I saved this one dated September 8, 2008, and quote it for you here:

“Good Morning

I have been reading Fahrenheit 451 for my church book club and have found it most interesting and pertinent to today.

One paragraph seemed a bit out of context with its depth but struck a chord within my spirit that I wanted to share with you …

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.

We may reach a point in our relationship where because we don’t share the same experiences any longer that things to chat about may be a bit more difficult; but yet, I know for each of you, that magical piece has happened that makes my heart run over.

Enjoy the beauty of this day.

Love to you, my friends”

Fast forward to retreat 2009, led by Jean Shula, who spoke to us about how the 3 Mary’s impact us as women (Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Mary and Martha and Mary Magdalene). It was a fascinating discussion and is the subject of an upcoming book.

As part of our closing worship service she taught us a chant which we sang while standing in a circle touching hands with the person next to us. We repeated its words to each other as we moved around the circle. WOW, what impact! What a realization then and now of the blessings of people to whom you can say,

Listen, listen, listen to my heart’s song,

Listen, listen, listen to my heart’s song:

I will never forget you; I will never forsake you;

I will never forget you; I will never forsake you.

As I was researching this evening for an audio copy of the chant, I discovered that it was written by an Indian Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, and has often been used as a lullaby by Indian mothers for their children – Makes me wish I had a young ‘un to rock and makes me realize yet again that LOVE goes beyond politics, economics, and theology – love goes to the soul and is beyond our comprehension in its vastness.

I think of my friends from Shapleigh, my sisters and brothers from St. John’s UMC, those in my life dealing with major illness whom I may not get to see again, friends from other times and places in my life, family who have passed from me in body, family who are friends, friends who are as close as family, my son, daughter and daughter-in-law, my husband of 43 years (without whom I’d be less than I am), and feel so small on the one hand but so large on the inside with the love in my heart.

Shh, listen, listen, listen. Can you hear it? It’s my heart’s song.

Shh, listen again. Is that yours joining in the chant?

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