I’ve been thinking about friendships a lot lately. Four times in my grown-up life, I have had to start all over. That means starting by not knowing another soul of my peer group, and coming into groups of people who already had established relationships. Four times I have put myself “out there.” Four times I have had to leave my comfort zone, and contrary to my introverted personality, I have had to put on a happy face, stick out my hand, and hope that others would draw me into their circles.
It has been worth every single shaky social situation. I have incredible friends, and I wouldn’t trade a single one, near or far, longtime or new, for comfort, an easy life, or security.
So, let’s go back. My oldest friends, with whom I am still in contact, are two of my high school friends. I love those two women who are very different, and who have picked up our friendships whenever I have re-entered their lives, embraced me for myself, and lifted me up from the depths more than once. There is my lake friend, who was my soul-sister from afar, is now much nearer, and whose generous heart pulls those she loves close and never let’s go. I have my teaching friends who walked with me as I grew professionally, supported me, and held my hand as my marriage fell apart, and continue to rejoice with me as our lives progress. There is my Australian daughter/sister/friend, who gives me encouragement and endless “onyas” because that is just the way she is. And, last but never least, of course, there are my three sisters who were little girls when I entered adulthood, caught me as I free-fell into an abyss, and then danced around me as I climbed out of the hole.
That leads me to my new friends. Making friends takes time. People have busy-ness going on. They have their nuclear families and their extended families. They have long existing friendships. Yet, my new peeps have opened their hearts to me and overlooked my social flaws. They have brought me into their circles, and taught me their ways.
During these times of national division, let us all remember that friendship is everything. We aren’t meant to walk alone. We are meant for friendships. Cherish yours. Personally, I don’t want to even live without mine. Ever.