The poem that I used all week in both reading and writing was called "Friendship," written by Walter Dean Myers, from his collection Brown Angels. I don't want to infringe on copyrights or anything. I wrote my own poem using the same format, rhyme scheme, and syllabic pattern of "Friendship," as a model that I could read to my classes. Their assignment was to do the same. So here it is, in all its cheesy glory. I suppose I shall call it "Traveling."
There is a special place in my glad heart
Turn away from everyday woes
Turn away from that false, ugly pose
That beats just for going, traveling
There are so many places I can go
Take some time to enjoy something new
Take pictures and memories not few
That let me build on a new status quo.
But back to the subject of friendship. The homework assignment last night for my students was to write a page on what friendship means to you. Here, appropriately, is my own attempt.
This week, one of our teammates, surprisingly one that I'd pegged as fairly non-sentimental, sent out an email about the two-year anniversary. Two years ago today (or possibly yesterday), our AmeriCorps term ended in a very early wake up call and last house inspection, a very tearful graduation ceremony, and long flights home; altogether a hectic, intense and extremely emotional day. I remember it vividly...possibly because I have three rolls of film of it. But seriously, it was heart-wrenching to know that Fire 4 was coming to an end and would never be together again. That our adventure was finished and we were trying to face the reality of returning home. Up until then, we'd been tired, exhausted, ready to return to family and friends, our lives of comfort and relative luxury. But that last day, it seemed like we finally understood the grandness of the past ten months: how much we'd gotten accomplished, how much we'd grown as individuals, and how much we'd come to appreciate one another. It was devastating to go home and just be me, alone. Through the ups and many downs, all of us were still there (unless it was during disaster relief, then it was most of us), together. That year was the first time that I truly felt like part of a family.
Even if I never saw my teammates again (which better not happen), I still can hear each of their voices. They are a part of me forever. That sounds all dramatic and over-serious, but it's the honest truth.
That's what friendship boils down to, for me. People who accept you when you're at your worst, and who can appreciate you at your best, no matter how quirky or odd that may be. Acceptance.