Phyllis & Ellie

Copyright 1976 American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

Copyright 1976 American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

It doesn't matter who you are or where you've been.  A friendship that stands the test of time means there was a solid foundation that it rested upon.  I believe there is a season for people that come and go in your life…that they were meant to be there during a time that you needed them, whether you think so or not.  Maybe it was to teach you something, or maybe it was just because you needed that caliber of love and encouragement you were given.  But then there are those that no matter what happens or where you are in your life, you know they will always be there – be a part of your life…a special part of your heart.

 There once was a woman with a calling.  She had a love affair with what she believed was right in her faith and followed it.  She gave up the world as we know it to serve and felt that at that time is was very right.  As she progressed in this calling, she met someone who felt the same calling to the same faith to the same place in her soul she felt was right.  And they became friends.  They became the kind of friends I just talked about – the loyalty and love ran thicker and tighter than any circumstance they could have ever faced.

 The rules of the faith they followed changed their names, though their spirits remained the same.  Their kinship continued to grow as they did.  They each faced trials and tribulations that brought them to places in their life most of us understand, but hope we never have to go through.  And with each moment of perseverance they had to face, they were molded and changed into different people – and their friendship remained. 

 At different times, they were roommates, friends, sisters(both in their faith and to each other), women of faith, strength in numbers, healthy and viral, and sensitive to each other’s needs – and not just under the cloak of a habit…it was more than that; meaningful and intentional.  And then, at other times, they were alone, distant, found themselves following different spiritual paths, strength in their individuality, and – sickness found each of them, though each with a different name.

 As their families grew, names were given to them based on the originality of who they were.  One’s nephew called her by her birth-given name, Phyllis.  The same nephew became the other’s godson, and as a child was unable to pronounce the name everyone knew, so in his child-like way, he called her “Ellie” – as close as he could get.

 Phyllis and Ellie went in different directions as life took them to the places they landed and became comfortable…but their friendship never wavered.  From the time they were 14-year-old-girls until well into their prime, they remained strong on the foundation they had built.  As life happens, one had to deal with Alzheimer’s and the other, Cancer.  Sometimes the things life brings you can tear down even the oldest of friendships – but only if your foundation isn't solid and tangible.  Phyllis and Ellie stood strong.  Often they would be there for one another if they could, but for Phyllis, Alzheimer’s took over her mind,  and then her body so she did the very best she could.  Ultimately, the disease took her life.  Ellie fought Cancer and still fights as I type this story, but has not let it get the very best of her.

 Ellie went to be with Phyllis during her last few hours here on earth, and though Phyllis struggled for so long with not remembering, she knew Ellie was there and the last things Ellie said to her.  And with the peace that Ellie feels for Phyllis’ passing and not suffering any more, her heart aches the loss of her friend.  She knows she will see her again someday.  She knows the foundation is still the solidity of their life together…and that it helped create the widely-loved, strong woman she is today and will continue to be until she sees Phyllis again.

 At Phyllis’ funeral, Ellie said to her godson – Phyllis’ nephew- “I guess there is no more Phyllis and Ellie.”  To which her godson replied, “There will ALWAYS be a Phyllis and Ellie.” 

And he’s right.

 Who is the Phyllis or the Ellie in your life?  As you build your legacy and this short life passes you by, be still and decipher who that person is in your life.  Who do you have the solid foundation with that God has built Himself into?  Remember the people that have passed through and made a difference – good or bad, it’s shaped you and given you wisdom.  But always be there for the one that has helped give you solidity.  Don’t just let a habit take over……be meaningful and intentional and allow it to mold you and create the person you ultimately become.  Enjoy every moment to its absolute fullest because one day our last day will be here.  And that foundation and what it has become will be the legacy you leave……just like Phyllis and Ellie.