My Sister, My Friend

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mysistermyfriend

When I think about my best friend, it’s hard to find the right words to release the feelings in my heart. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of what I want to say, and then it floats away into a mist of cloudy happiness again. Snapshots of memories, fragments of conversations, all combining to form something so deep and dear that I can’t wrap my mind around it.

My best friend happens to be my sister – my only sister – my only sibling. She’s mine and no one else’s. I like it that way.

Growing up, we were never lonely. My mom always taught us that friends would come and go, but a sister would be with you for a lifetime – so we’d better learn to get along.

If we argued, fought, or got mad at each other, we weren’t allowed to have any other friends over until we’d patched things up.

I remember spending many happy hours in the realms of imagination. We pretended we were characters from our favorite books and movies, and we made up some of our own too. But we never compartmentalized our fun – all of our characters knew each other and belonged to what we termed “the Gang.” I tell you, when the Gang got together for a pool party, it felt like there were fifty people in my bedroom, though it was only me and my sister. And when we played whiffle ball, there were two whole teams churning up dust in our backyard, but my mom only saw the two of us.

“We could be a WHOLE PARADE” – I Like You, Sandol Stoddard Warburg

mysistermyfriend

We were cowgirls together, spelunkers together, detectives together. There’s still a hole in the shared wall between our closets for the wire that connected our Morse code transmitters. If her closet door is open and the clothes are pushed aside, I can peek through from my side and see her bed.

Once we made up our own language (as if quoting our favorite movies wasn’t enough). Another time we turned my bedroom into a 1700s house by covering the Little Tikes Party Kitchen with brown paper bags and taping a paper fireplace onto a table. Plug-in candles threw us into a world of childish fantasies that occupied us for days.

The games we shared, the imaginary stories we wrote are locked in the most secret places of my heart. No one else is privy to enjoy them as we did. I guess no one else would want to – they were significant because they were ours, not because they were anything in and of themselves.

Our imaginations have grown rusty with time, and adult life keeps us busy with work and responsibilities, but we always make time for each other, even if it means combining work with play. Many of our heart-to-heart talks happen in the car on the way to dance class. She often grades papers while we watch TV. I might bounce screenplay ideas off of her on a shopping trip. And when we want some relax time, we’ll probably pop in an East Side Kids film and drink tea.

It’s glorious to know someone who thinks so much like I do and enjoys the same things – it’s as if our minds are linked on a special frequency that no one else can intercept. We speak the same code.

Like on the days we wear the same shirt without planning it (and neither of us goes back to change). Or when one of us is sad and the other says just the right thing without knowing it.

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, but when that friend is your sister, you have the best of both worlds, don’t you?

I wouldn’t want to face the world without her.

AbigailBeck (2)

Sometimes I think it would be nice to write something amazing about all the special memories we have, but then again, it’s nice to have secrets.

I imagine there’s a big old-fashioned trunk in my heart (because we both like old-fashioned) with our names on it. There’s a matching one in her heart. Only we can see them or open them. Sometimes we do – and take out our treasures, hold them up and exclaim, “Remember when we did that?” “We sure had fun.” Then we close the lids, but we don’t lock them, because we’re adding new treasures every moment we’re together. Everyone should have a heart-friend – God knew mine needed to be my sister.

“I like you because/ I don’t know why but/ Everything that happens/ Is nicer with you/ I can’t remember when I didn’t like you” – I Like You, Sandol Stoddard Warburg

 

Photo Credits: Abigail Beck

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Cracking the Secret of Boyne Castle

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In 1969, Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color” television program aired a three-part movie starring Kurt Russell, Glenn Corbett and Patrick Dawson called The Secret of Boyne Castle (UK: Guns in the Heather). Though the film is not commercially available, we were able to get a recording when it played on the Disney channel many years ago. The screenwriting is sometimes cheesy, and certain plot points are laughable, but it has always been one of my favorites. I think it’s because it takes place in Ireland.

Filmed partly on location, Secret of Boyne Castle follows two students, Richard and Sean, who find themselves mixed up with a spy ring from behind the Iron Curtain. Adventurous chase scenes, daring escapes and fast-paced espionage are glued together with charming slices of Irish culture for a story that’s just plain fun.

Of course Boyne Castle is a fictional place created for the movie, but I’ve always been curious where the crew shot the castle scenes. Was it a combination of several places, or even a set at Pinewood Studios? My searches had always yielded nothing, but today I found my answer.

At home with a head cold, I wanted to watch something lighthearted, cheerful, Irish. In went Secret of Boyne Castle. As I followed Richard and Sean’s escapades, I paid closer attention to place names than I had before. Soon I realized that the climax of the film was supposed to take place in Clew Bay, off the coast of Westport in County Mayo. An Internet search brought me to a list of mansions and castles in or near Connacht, a northwest province of the Republic of Ireland.

A long shot maybe, but one that paid off. I clicked on the link to Dunguaire Castle in Galway, and there it was, big as life, the legendary (in my book) Boyne Castle.

Dunguaire Castle (aka Boyne Castle)

As I labeled it on my map, I realized that during my own visit to Ireland, I had driven within the vicinity of the fortress without knowing it. So close …

Now I have another reason to return to Ireland.

And at last I know the secret of Boyne Castle.

Inspired Confidence

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In the old movie Bathing Beauty (1944) starring Red Skelton and Esther Williams, a eurhythmics instructor tells her dancers to carry themselves with a type of poise that she sums up with a mantra: “I have a secret; I am beautiful; I am beloved.” Although Skelton reduces her grand ideal to slapstick in his typical comic fashion, the motto itself is far from absurd. It captures, with reservations, a truth that really does inspire confidence.

“The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage” by Edgar Degas

In our humanistic society, people see confidence as a valuable trait. For example, many companies promote business practices that ‘empower’ their employees, and schools try to boost kids’ self-esteem, but that kind of confidence is easily shaken when circumstances or conditions change.

The only kind of personal confidence that can hold up under any kind of pressure is one that is based on an unchanging, unfaltering foundation. I don’t know any other foundation that fits these criteria except Jesus Christ Himself. In a saving relationship with Him, my life has poise for these reasons:

I have a secret: That I’m a coheir with Christ to an eternal inheritance that’s guaranteed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:11-14).

I am beautiful: Because God the Father chooses to see Christ’s righteous record where my sinful one used to be (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I am beloved: Because God’s beloved Son has made me one with Him (John 15:9, 10; 17:20-23).

So yes, that funny old mantra speaks truth. It can inspire a degree of temporary self-confidence when taken at face value, but when viewed through the lens of Scripture, it inspires lasting Christ-confidence.