I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how fortunate I am in my friends, particularly my work colleagues. Knowing that I would have to leave my 1-2 team was definitely the most challenging part of choosing to teach fourth grade. For with the change in grade levels came a move to a different wing in the school–far away from my companions of the past eight years.
My 1-2 friends have gone out of their way to keep in touch and to support me. One of them stops by on her way to my old wing almost every day. When she didn’t come by on a recent Friday, she called quickly to say hello and have a great weekend. On this same day another friend stopped by and when I wasn’t there, left a cheery post it note on my desk. Yet another friend stopped by later to surprise me with one of my most favorite delicious and decadent treats ever–another note of kindness. I’m also lucky enough to enjoy a growing friendship with my new teaching partner. I thought I would miss laughing with my first grade teaching team, but we certainly do our share up here in fourth grade! Overall, I am just so thankful for the generous support and friendship all of these women have offered me.
This weekend I read a wonderful article by Omid Safi about friendship (Gathering Friends Like Roses) and it helped me consolidate some of the thoughts and emotions that have been swirling through my mind. So much of what he wrote resonates with me, like this part from a medieval story, The Golestan (The Rose Garden), that he shared. In this story a woman speaks to a bit of clay that has been gifted her:
“One day in the bathhouse, a sweet-smelling clay was handed to me by a loved one.
“Are you musk or ambergris?” I asked, “for I am intoxicated by your enchanting fragrance.”
“I used to be just mud,” it said, “ a mere nothing, but I for a while I kept the fellowship of the roses,
the perfection of my companions had an effect on me.
Otherwise, I am nothing but dust.”
— Sa‘di, Golestan, translation modified”
Safi notes that we all have different inner qualities, some admirable, some not. Different people pull out different aspects of our nature. Do we choose to spend our time with those who pull out the higher notes, those notes of radiance, or with those who appeal to our darker side?
In summary, the fellowship we choose leaves an indelible mark, and these days I think I must be smelling of roses.