In 1977, a gorgeous woman named Judith lived directly across the street from me. She was the mother of two boys, owned her own makeup company, loved sunrises and the Fort Lauderdale ocean beach smells as I did. In addition, we shared a deep and abiding love in the mysteries of god. Almost every morning, just before dawn for the following two years; we met with coffee and spiritual books in hand and drove the mile to the beach.
In my office hangs a beloved faded photo of the Fort Lauderdale Bridge where we devoured spiritual books with a voracious appetite. We feared stern recrimination should we be found with these books. I remain unclear of who it was exactly that we feared but being good little catholic girls, perhaps we feared the God police of our childhoods. Among our treasure books were, The Course in Miracles, Rosicrucian literature, Emit Fox and other so called, “New Age” readings. Judith taught me about the God within.
It was incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to read and study alternative ideas about religion and philosophy. I had loved that mysterious someone or something called God with all of my heart since I was a very young child. Hadn’t my beloved grandmother told me many times amidst the soft rays cast by the Lady of Fatima night light, “Dawnie, it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe.”
Over the years we have combined our love of spirituality and psychology and co-facilitated many workshops together. My husband and I spent this past New Years Eve with Judith and her husband Bob.
Jeanette Rodriguez Ph.D
She is a scholar, a vamp, a mystic, the person with whom I have the most fun and my angel. Jeanette brims with attitude. I fell in love with Jeanette while taking her course in Spanish Mystics which included, St. John of The Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila. I thought her to be either the most arrogant person that I had ever met or the epitome of the “East Coast” attitude. In addition to being chair of a Religious Studies department at a University, she held a degree as a marriage and family therapist.
One day over lunch I asked her to co-facilitate workshops with me. Walking back to the University, without a second glance, she crossed a busy street expecting traffic to stop for her. When I caught up with her, I said, “You really are an arrogant little sh..t”, she laughed until tears ran down her cheeks and replied, “No one has talked to me like that since I left New York, I think I love you”.
Since that first meeting we have co-facilitated numerous workshops in several states. On occasion we have shared humble accommodations with the sounds of mice scurrying about. We have been awed by glorious cathedrals, walked the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam and Seville, rode camels in Morocco, jet skied the Columbia River and attended workshops on Nero-science and the Internal Family System Model. We have amused many a waitress as we littered table tops with toys while sharing our internal realities, sometimes with tears, other times with gales of laughter.
She helped me with homework assignments during my pursuit of a two year degree in Theology. Like every English lab I practically lived in throughout college, she tried to teach me some basic grammar skills. Soon, resigned to my inability to learn grammar or parts of speech, she simply wrote, “Say what?” in the margins of my written papers. I continued writing the sentences over again until she felt they were acceptable. And what did she derive from our relationship, you might ask? She said that if I weren’t her best friend, I would be her therapist. She thought me to be the best that she had known. The powers that be seemed to have bestowed special talents to each of us. More importantly to our enduring friendship was that felt sense I referred to earlier that comes from similar backgrounds. We knew from the beginning that we had each other’s back covered.
Once, while having dinner at a restaurant with a colleague, Jeanette and I took sugar packets from the table and placed them in our pockets.
He asked “Why do you guys do that?”
“Do what”, we asked surprised.
“Take a sugar pack. You two always do that”.
“Because we’re project kids!,” we simultaneously replied as if he were the one out of sync with the obvious. Doesn’t everyone keep a little something extra in their pocket just in case?
We just completed our sixteenth summer vacation together. These days together are always times of renewal and reflection. This year, while in Hawaii, I reflected on our twenty year friendship with humor and gratitude. She is my wingless angel with skin and, in her case, a wink.
Who was your first angel with skin?
Tell me about a special friendship angel in your life.