Opal was my first LOL (Little Old Lady); and don’t worry, she would not be offended by that title. She’d earned it! She was 95 years old, widowed, and living by herself; and I grew to love her dearly.
I was 25 years old and living on my own for the first time. One evening, feeling desperately lonely, I sifted through the list of everyone I knew. All of my friends seemed to be busy with husbands and children, and so I wracked my brain for anyone that would have time for just me. For some reason, I remembered Opal. Years before, we’d gone to the same church, and I’d recently heard that she was living about a mile from my house.
In what I thought was an extremely bold move, I looked up her name in the phone book and then with nervous fingers dialed her number. The phone rang about eight times, and with each ring I became more anxious. What would she think of me calling her out of the blue? Would she even remember who I was? Finally, her shaky voice said, “Hello.”
In a rush I explained who I was and then blurted out, “I was feeling kind of lonely tonight. Would you mind if I came for a visit?”
A few hours later as I was leaving her home, I once again swallowed my fear of rejection and suggested that if she was ever lonely she could call me.
Opal called me frequently over the next few years, and we had many wonderful visits together.
That friendship took place many years ago, but I often think of Opal and wonder if she realized how special she was to me. Did she know she filled a void in my life and that I was learning from her?
Knowing what I know about life now, I’m pretty sure I was filling a void in her life too. I’m sad that we often let fear of rejection hold us back from reaching out to people with our friendship. Opal’s friendship was a treasure to me – a rare jewel to cherish in my memory forever.