I think most of us have been exposed to the somewhat trite, but ultimately touching and resonating poem (Zog knows where it came from at this point) about friendships and the cycles they provide in our lives:
“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed or just felt. They have come to assist you through a hard time, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. Then, suddenly, the person disappears from your life. Your need has been met; their work is done.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share or grow or give back. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They give you great joy. Believe it; it is real. But only for a season.
Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons—things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all your other relationships.
Think about the people in your life over the years. Whether they were there for a reason, a season or a lifetime, accept them and treasure them for however long they were meant to be part of your life.
And when they are gone, be thankful for the gifts you received from them when they were here—for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”
Back in 2011, I would have told you that The Doctor* was someone in my life for a reason. She was there to teach me applicable laboratory lessons in intro to biology for majors lab. Even back then, I had a HUGE fangirl crush on her, because she was IT. Smart, funny, driven; everything I wanted to be. I loved the days when I could stay late in lab and continue an experiment, dissection, conversation, what have you, because it meant I had an opportunity to talk to her more and have the door to science opened even further.
As a female in a nontraditional track for a STEM degree, I can not overstate how much it meant to me to see a strong woman in front of the class.
As things turned out, I would be tossed into her path once more a few years later, and again, I thought it was for a reason. I was there to assist her with her research for her doctorate dissertation, and I was gaining necessary and valuable research assistant and surgical assistant experience to further my academic career. Our mutual academic advisor facilitated this, but I will devote a later post to him.
Luckily for me, an inquisitive mind, the ability to follow instructions, and a good sense of humor opened bigger doors than the clearly labelled ones in front of my face. Through surgery times on weekends, early mornings, and cage cleanings when required, a bond stronger than a season formed. The Doctor was more than just a friend for a season: she turned out to be the sister I never had. A friend for life. The woman that will be responsible for my kids should a disaster happen.
She is younger than me by nearly 10 years, but she is my senior and mentor in so many ways, and I look up to her, perhaps more than she knows.
In the years since she was my TA, and I was her RA, we have formed a bond that gives me both the warm fuzzies, and strength, plus laughs, reality, a confidant, and a compatriot. The longer I know her, the more I find to admire, aspire to, and love.
The best part about her? Despite her nearly heroic status in my mind, she is still human. She laughs at my stupid punny jokes, she loves music, she appreciates her dog dancing in the ocean, cooks a mean ethnic meal, cries when things hurt, rejoices in the successes of others, gets vexed at annoyances, nearly comes out of her skin with excitement when she sees her favorite band. I have seen her cry, I have made her laugh so hard she nearly peed her pants. She tolerates my want to be near the water, and just breathe for awhile.
She has exposed me to new ideas, new cultures, new foods, is great to go on a hike with because I never know when she is going to wrestle a reptile, and she has helped me get more than one life bird. She never stops learning, exploring, expanding her horizons, teaching others, striving to help with justice for others…
I could sing her praises until the Great Auks return, and that still wouldn’t be enough time to list how great I think she is. The Doctor, you know who you are, and you know I think you are the bees knees. Now the world knows how kick ass you are, too, albeit via a pseudonym! Thank you for being my friend, my world is brighter because of you.
*Not her real name.