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Almost Heaven. Wednesday February 17, 2016

No – not West Virginia. South West Bromsgrove in fact.

At a party with some friends I hadn't seen for nearly twenty years.

In the final chapter of The Last Battle, where all the good characters from the Narnia series meet up in the New Narnia, C S Lewis writes, "And there was greeting and kissing and handshaking and old jokes revived (you've no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years)."

Well, it wasn't quite as long as that, but those jokes still sounded good.

A little earlier in the book it's said of one of the characters, meeting another in this wonderful place, "At first he thought she looked older, but then didn't and he never could make up his mind on that point." And so it was with us.

"You haven't changed a bit!" was exclaimed in voices of delight. And, "You must have a picture up in your attic, with all the lines and wrinkles that should be on your face but aren't!"

Nonsense of course! We have all aged. We are all a little heavier. There is grey hair or less hair (for the men, naturally: we women never go grey until we choose too), there is more tummy in a couple of cases and a few laughter lines for all of us. But what we actually meant, and the reason for the delight, is that our friendship is still there, as bright and warm as ever it was.

We've all been through hard times. Some of the talk was about Moodscope and which anti-depressants have worked or are working best for us. We were able to share about those hard times face to face in way you just can't on the virtual meeting place that is Facebook.

Circumstances have taken us out of each other's spheres. Where once we all lived within a few miles of each other, now we are scattered across the country. Once we performed music and poetry together regularly. Now the musicians still play, but for different groups, and we writers find that our writing has moved to prose: not so conducive to performance.

We have kept up contact of course, but nothing can replace the warmth of human touch. I spent the entire evening in some kind of physical contact with my friends; holding hands, hugging (there was lots of that), casually leaning against one friend as I talked poetry and literature with another. Oh it was so good to be back among musicians, writers and artists. I've missed that so much. I didn't realise how much until it was restored.

It's unlikely we will ever work together again as we did twenty years ago – life moves on. But it was great to be with them again, even if just for an evening.

And yes – it was a foretaste of heaven. To see old friends and to find that the love we bear for each other is still strong. In fact, as we have grown in faith and maturity during those years, we love each other even more.

In fact, it was just a damn' good party!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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the room above the garage Wed, Feb 17th 2016 @ 4:53am

Hello Mary, such a wish to go back and live it all again...wonderful. I adore Narnia, such a brilliant place! Peaceful day to all, love ratg X.

LillyPet Wed, Feb 17th 2016 @ 8:45am

Morning Mary, how lovely for you to have reunited with friends from the past. Your writing is full of the smiles, creativity and familiarity that you shared with them, that 20 years appearing to have dissolved away.
I too have contacted (individually) close friends who I havent seen whilst hibernating this winter, now that spring is on it's way. So some chatty catch ups to look forward to and the guilt of not having bothered for quite a while gone! Why does that hang around I wonder, when my logical brain knows that we are all busy, a friend is a friend so time and space don't matter, when we meet, we pick up from where we left off and the connection doesn't change.
Thanks for a lovely blog Mary. LP xx

Melanie Wed, Feb 17th 2016 @ 8:48am

Mary, this is really beautiful. It so reminded me of a dinner party a few months ago, meeting up with work colleagues I had not seen for 20 years. We did not have the physical touch aspect but the warmth, laughter, friendship and the talk of we are just the same, the evening passing so easily without a care in the world - all there. Heaven - we are going all to have a lovely time! Love, Melanie

Hopeful One Wed, Feb 17th 2016 @ 9:01am

Hi Mary- A heart warming blog. Meeting up with old friends can be such a mood changer so I will often try and see ,or if that fails , to phone someone I have not spoke to for a while. Their delight and surprise will often give me a lift.

But here is another foretaste of Heaven.

This lady passes away and arrives at the Gates of Heaven. Saint Peter is waiting to greet her to let her in. The lady says she wanted to be reunited with her beloved Walter who had passed away before her. St Peter says " Love we have millions of Walters here so could you please give us some clues so we can find him for you?" She says "My Walter is bald and has blue eyes ." St Peter says "That might not be enough. Can you tell us more?" He said to me once that if he ever heard that I had an affair he would turn in his grave." So St Peter looks over his shoulder and says to his assistant" Could you please bring Turning Walter"

The Gardener Wed, Feb 17th 2016 @ 12:08pm

Hello Mary - what a lovely blog. Been that road. School reunions - fascinating in seeing how the 'front runners' at school have dulled into nonentities. If one had anything in common with any of them would have stayed friends for life - 2nd son and fifth child, daughter, have the greatest number of contacts from school - is it because they travel so much? Our business, market gardening, seems to be a very close community. We went to golden weddings and retirement parties of people who sold us stuff in the 60's, massive catch up. Several times we have visited people after 25 years - you pick up where you left off, amazing. Sadly, friends are dividing into those who e-mail and phone frequently, and, perhaps 25% who will only contact if we are in the UK - which looks like never now. We ditched one friend - we've known him through wife one and two, disastrous children, from when he was a rabid socialist and disapproved of our life style (did not stop him drinking our beer and coming to every party) to now, when he is just as rabid for the BNP. His wife is an absolute darling, but, even for her, we will not go and be harangued by him. For you who follow my antics as closely as Eastenders MrTG seems to have taken a new lease of life, loves kitchen and bedroom - making effort to find way about. Even not fussing as I run between houses with supermarket bags. I may be jumping to conclusions - but more neighbours, more people passing, perhaps he will be less anxious, because he had certainly lost confidence in me.

Lex Thu, Feb 18th 2016 @ 8:26am

Ah, Narnia... I'll see you there, dear Mary! L€xx

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