I love Lucy. Everyone does, right? But you know who I also love? I love Ethel. Because without Ethel, Lucy wouldn't have been able to devise or execute quite so many hair-brained schemes. Lucy needed Ethel - and who doesn't? Everyone needs an Ethel! Everyone needs an accomplice in fun, in worry, in difficult projects. It would be handy if I could just step out on the fire escape and shout for her! But I can't. My Ethel lives in Texas. And I don't. We haven't lived near each other since shortly after grad school. It may have saved us (and our husbands) a lot of trouble, but I think the trouble may have been worth it!
It's not that I'm Lucy; I'm her Ethel - because, everyone needs an Ethel! During gradschool we attended and hosted many a wonderful get together, for instance the famous New Liturgical Year semi-formal party on the eve of Advent with our Franciscan University friends, and the more elite "Turnover Party" we held in my car the night my odometer was due to turn over to 100,000 miles. I made the apple turnovers, she put together the soundtrack tape (Sentimental Journey, I Love a Rainy Night, Driving My Life Away, etc.). Getting lost on an outing to Amish Country, we both realized at the same moment, looking at the map, that we had turned the wrong way on a road, but thought it was the right direction because we had both though East when we read West - and both said at the exact same time, "Oh, WEST!". Let me just say, you don't want to play the game Taboo against us!
We have encouraged each other in our Faith, in whiling away the years waiting for our spouses, in living the catholic liturgical year with our families. She introduced me to Maria Trapp's book, Around the Year With the Trapp Family!! We have discussed a great many other books. She taught me the "Carol P. Just Get It Done Method" - which have yet to perfect. We both married and had our fist children in the same year as each other. While I have been blessed with many good friends, acquaintances and groups of friends over the years, it is a gift to have someone with whom I share history, Faith and humor.
"Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them.”
-Sirach 6:14-16 NRSV
Friendship is sweet. If you lack an Ethel in your life, I suggest you have a word with St. John the Evangelist (the Apostle). He is the patron saint of friendship. He was able, while at the Last Supper to lean on Our Lord's Heart and referred to himself as "the beloved disciple". His faithful, long life was surely rewarded with the opportunity to be close to Our Lord in heaven, where he can recommend your request to the Author of Love. Ask for a faithful friend, an Ethel! You will find your prayer answered in time.
You can go look at my Ethel's blog if you'd like to see what she's up to. Her name is Carol, though. She writes (not often enough) at Strangers and Exiles. As you might have surmised, she writes thoughtfully on the Catholic Faith, the liturgical year, family, books (she reads a lot), films - and she always welcomes friendly comments.