Artist’s Lane: Lifetime friends: on my row

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    By Betty Slade
    PREVIEW Columnist

    They say there are three types of friends: friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime. A person is blessed when she finds a friend for a lifetime.

    Through changes, miles apart, many seasons — no matter how life moves between friends — they will be there for each other.

    On this dusty road of life, I am reminded of one of my dearest lifetime friends. She came from the cotton fields of Clovis, N.M. I came from a small town in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. So different and the only two things we have in common is our walk with the Lord and our name — Betty.

    We have walked through some low valleys and scaled some high mountaintops together. It was never about the terrain, whether stark or hostile, or sunshine and green field, the conversations we shared along the way made everything more than right.

    I’ll never forget when Betty Lucero spun into my life like a whirlwind. With 3-inch heels, dressed for business, she stomped into my art gallery and started to move things about.

    She gave names to my art. The Women of the Wind Series became my southwest art signature. Within weeks, she taught Bible classes with me. We spent hours researching scriptures and golden nuggets hidden within. She came in like a wind, whipped up my life and never left. She is a true friend.

    The reason we were drawn to each other is our hunger for knowledge and our spiritual thirst for the Word of God. We were born from the same womb, of the Father’s heart and the wounded side of Jesus Christ. She calls me Slade. I call her Lucero.

    Her words were bathed in spirit and when she spoke, they were imprinted on my heart. I quote and live by them. My life is better because of my friend.

    Words that made an important difference in my life were her simple messages.

    When she was a little girl, each member of her family was expected to pick cotton in the fields. The owner of the field gave her a bag and a row and told her to stay on her row. They warned her that when she reached into another row, she scattered. As long as she stayed on her row, she gathered.

    Interesting how our rows have run parallel through our lifetime. Our beginnings were different, our culture diverse, miles took us far away, and yet we have worked along side each other in God’s field to this day.

    “Stay on your row,” is one of my go-tos.

    I used this simple phrase when I drove a point home to my grandson and shared with him the story of my friend. “Stay on your row. There are many girls out there, a lot of cotton in the field, but choose the girl on your row. She’s the one that God has designed to be for you and the one you are made to be with. Your rows will run parallel all the days of your life, just like your granddad and me.”

    My grandson talked to me about his career. I told him, “Stay on your row. God has designed you to be there. There is a big cotton field out there and plenty of cotton to choose from, but stay on your row. If you do, you will gather. If not, you will scatter.”

    That simple lesson has kept me on my row. It is not a restriction, but freedom. I look at my friend’s life and how far she has walked. I look at my life as I have worked along side her in my row. We have accomplished many things together.

    When tears come and smiles flash across her face, I want to be there. It is not what the world says about us, it’s what we see in each other. She has seen me rise from the ashes to mountaintops and fall to the valleys below, but she still sees something in me others can not.

    Final brushstroke: She knows me better than any one else. When the sun is blistering down, she will reach out and wipe my sweaty brow. When snow is 3 feet deep, she will give me her coat. She’s never far, because she has learned how to stay on her row, next to mine.