“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” Exodus 1:8
One of my favorite series of books is Anne of Green Gables. I know. I know. It’s old fashioned and sappy sweet–but so am I. . .and there are great truths in those books. One of the best books in the series (as far as I’m concerned) is Anne’s House of Dreams. It’s in this book that Anne grows up and gets married and makes a home and friends away from Avonlea. It’s also in this book that I found a great explanation of instant friendship.
“You’re young and I’m old, but our souls are about the same age, I reckon. We both belong to the race that knows Joseph, as Cornelia Bryant would say,” said Captain Jim.
“The race that knows Joseph?” puzzled Anne.
“Yes. Cornelia divides all the folks in the world into two kinds– the race that knows Joseph and the race that don’t. If a person sorter sees eye to eye with you, and has pretty much the same ideas about things, and the same taste in jokes–why, then he belongs to the race that knows Joseph.”
“Oh, I understand,” exclaimed Anne, light breaking in upon her. “It’s what I used to call–and still call in quotation marks `kindred spirits.'”
“Jest so–jest so,” agreed Captain Jim. “We’re it, whatever it is. When you come in tonight, Mistress Blythe, I says to myself, says I, `Yes, she’s of the race that knows Joseph.’ And mighty glad I was, for if it wasn’t so we couldn’t have had any real satisfaction in each other’s company. The race that knows Joseph is the salt of the earth, I reckon.”
As it turns out later in the book, Cornelia Bryant is of the race that knows Joseph as well.
I have been blessed over and over and over in my life with companions who are of the race that knows Joseph–some of them predicatable but many of them unlikely. I’ve had friends who were old enough to be my grandmother–I even have one who’s old enough to be my GREAT grandmother. She just turned 101 and still drives her own car. She got a speeding ticket shortly before her 100th birthday and told the officer, “Honey, I’m nearly 100. If I’m gonna get somewhere, I gotta go in a hurry.” He still gave her the ticket, and she laughed and laughed over it when she told us about it in ladies’ class.
I’ve had friends who were students. I remember being told that you shouldn’t have “favorite” students. . .and I know they meant “teachers pets.” But it is nigh unto impossible to NOT have favorite students. I have favorite adults, favorite teachers, favorite aunts, favorite friends, so it is highly likely that I will have a favorite student or two in my day. Some of my favorite students–the ones that know Joseph–have been highly unlikely. . .like Patrick who cut Molly’s hair and couldn’t sit still to save his life and Geoffrey who dressed like a Goth and could cuss a blue streak IN CLASS, but was so incredibly intuitive and intelligent that you couldn’t help but be drawn to him. Another was Molly who got her hair cut by Patrick, because when I IMMEDIATELY sent him to the office she said, “Mrs. Langley, I have a chunky cut anyway. You can’t even tell. Please don’t send him!!!!” I still did send him. I had to. And when I called later that night to check on Molly, she was more upset over Patrick getting into trouble than having him embellish her “chunky” cut.
I’ve had favorite teachers–some of whom I still keep up with. People who made an indellible mark on me as a person–the way I teach and parent and the way I live. I can go for years without talking to them, but when we get back in touch, it’s as if no time has passed–and they are now my friends–not my instructors.
Sarah and I were another unlikely pairing–I’ve told that story here before. She is a gift. Sarah’s grandparents were my friends. I would go and visit with them frequently because I yearned for their company. Another gift. I met one of my dearest friends because I was friends with her son my freshman year in college. Besides my own mother and grandmother, she is the woman who has made the biggest difference in how I function as a wife and mother and Christian. She knows this. I’ve told her. But I’ve made a difference in her life too. We have made each other better than we ever could have been had God not given us this gift of friendship. I have yet another friend that I hold dear. We met because I had a crush on her boyfriend. . .who is now her husband. I no longer have a crush on him–though he is a remarkable man–but she continually inspires me by her creativity and her singularly unique view of life.
That brings me to the REAL reason for this post. I have met friends in the blogosphere. It is odd. I’m still a little embarrassed to tell people how I met “my friend in California” or “my friend in Canada.” There are so many dangers in the world–the internet being one of the biggest dangers of our time. Personal information is so readily available and can be hijacked and used for all manner of things that can make us miserable. But this is also a place for us to meet others of the race that knows Joseph. Becky, Linda, Sandy, Melanie. . .these are girls I’d love to have some diet Coke and chocolate cake with. I’ve never laid eyes on any of them, but their souls shine through their words.
Evidently (I read this over at Melanie’s place) the Mommy Wars have been revived in the media. Old insecurities and opinions and habits and hypocrisies are being pulled out of storage and aired on the net and in the news. But here’s the deal. Extremists aren’t of the race that knows Joseph. The race that knows Joseph is a group of people who have those same insecurities and opinions and habits and hypocrisies, but we don’t bash each other with them, and we certainly don’t think one size fits all. It’s not “I’m okay. You’re okay.” thinking. It’s more like “None of us are okay, but it sure is easier to get through this world with a friend.” thinking.
If you’re reading this, if you keep coming back day after day to check in on me and read about Moon Pie Consumption and funny Thadisms, what Victoria has to say, and the current whereabouts of my husband, then you are of the race that knows Joseph. Thank you for making my world a nicer, homier place.