Can I Trust You?

Definition of trust:
A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something;
being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur.

“Can I trust you?”  Numerous times greater than needles on a pine tree I have faced that question.  Sometimes my response is “yes, I can” and gratefully I am correct more often than not.  But with higher frequency than I wish were true it is my discovery my trust was ill placed.

Wisdom gleaned from living has made me more discerning about who deserves my trust but still at times I will rely on those I should not.  Problem is I really want to trust everyone, but reality keeps showing me I can’t.  Instead I have to be reminded that trust has to be earned even knowing then no certainty is created.

Sometimes my disappointment is small.  I have faith in someone to return a book I loaned them and am let down when they don’t remember borrowing it.  Or, I trust a person to keep a confidence and they tell someone.  Or another will say they will do something and forget their words were ever spoken.  Such is the realm of everyday life.

If honestly is to prevail, I must admit the person who frustrates me most by violating my trust is me!  Let me explain.  I promise to faithfully begin working out once the weather turns cooler and the heat is gone, but the cold comes with me still parked on the couch.  I make the commitment to stop interrupting others while in conversation but find myself still doing it far too often to be considered an occasional mistake.

From John Mayer’s song “I Don’t Trust Myself…”
No I’m not the man I used to be lately
See you met me at an interesting time
If my past is any sign of your future
You should be warned before I let you inside.

Those words describe a warning that once could have been said truthfully about me.  With my best effort I attempt to not go tripping in my past, but being human invariably I do here and there.  Forgiveness is within for the vows of faithfulness broken in two marriages, but just because I forgive myself does not mean I have forgotten those ultimate violations of trust.   I have paid my penance, done my time in therapy and have grown beyond breaching such trust.  I learned from the mistakes made and am a better man now.

There is plenty in my past to regret, but tears and painful, sleepless nights of self-punishment have been paid.  Today I am a faithful man beyond doubt, but I do it for myself.  Being loyal to another is good for me, even more so than for the object of my fidelity.  Being proud of one’s self is a good addiction to cultivate.

One of the most painful aspects of trust is when one is being honest, but viewed as being deceitful.  It took a long time for the realization to come that telling the truth is all that is required.  Whether another believes me or not is their business, not mine.  If I have been honorable and am viewed otherwise the dishonestly is solely in the other person and his or her inability to see the truth when is presented.

Ultimately I have arrived in the here and now to be one of the most trustworthy people I have ever known. I know this to be true for it is with myself I live every moment of every day.  None of my actions or thoughts are a secret from me.  No longer do I need to try the impossible task of outrunning or fooling myself.  The transformation inside has been remarkable as I have learned to live up to my own standards.  Simple?  YES!  Hard to do?  YES, but worth every ounce of effort, sweat and tears!   Living parallel to my beliefs brings a sweet taste to living I have never known before.  I am grateful for the satisfying taste of my life today.

As soon as you trust yourself,
you will know how to live.
Johann Wolfgang von Goeth

First posted here on January 28, 2012

Those Who Are Friends

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Twenty-three days and I will officially be retired. Friends say “you’re too young”, but I’m hanging it up while healthy with a lot of years left to enjoy being the full owner of each day.

The company I am leaving has provided me with meaningful employment for close to a decade. There have been lots of good times and some not so wonderful ones, but the overall experience will always be positively remembered; cherished actually. Not sure I will miss the work a great deal, but I will miss some of the people a lot.

The last two days were spent in Milwaukee doing some consulting work for one of the company properties and visiting my counterpart here. We became friends quickly eight years ago. Our count tonight was we have hung out together at 32 company meetings. Knowing each other well as we do I am confident contact will be maintained, but I will miss seeing him every three months.

As many American men, we have talked in the past about being good friends but never expressed emotions much deeper, but we long known our bond was that of “brothers”. Tonight after a wonderful dinner and great conversation, Bill took me back to my hotel. As he was pulling in he said.” Now here is how this is going to work. When we stop I’m going to get out of the car shake hands with you, hug you and tell you I love you. Nothing else. Okay?” And we did just that. We were two late-middle-aged men noticeably holding back tears, not saying goodbye, but uncertain when we’d see each other again. I waved as he pulled away. He waved back and was gone.

I love you Bill. You are a talented professional, a dear man and a perfect gentleman. I will miss you and am so very grateful that a thoughtful, caring and gentle soul as you came into my life. I’ll see you again before too long.

Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes.
A farewell is necessary
before you can meet again.
And meeting again,
after moments or lifetime,
is certain for those who are friends.
Richard Bach

Song in Your Heart

Originally Posted on January 13, 2012 by 

From “Give Me Roses” by Marvin L. Cartee

If I am due but one little rose
While living upon this earth,
Let it be given while I’m still alive,
As a token of what I’m worth.

Give me my roses while I’m still alive,
Don’t sit there and hold them and wait,
Don’t wait until the day I am gone
Because then it’s a little too late.

If you love someone don’t hesitate
To tell them you love them today.
Don’t put it all off for tomorrow
‘Cause tomorrow may have passed away.

So if I am due one little rose,
While traveling along life’s highway,
Don’t hold onto that flower too long,
Please give me my roses today.

Dear ________,

I have been unsuccessful in fully expressing how much of a difference you make in my life. The scope of what is inside is difficult to form into words, but I will try anyway. In written form I have put down here at least a little of what I want you to know.

Thank you for being kind to me and noticing when I just need someone to listen. When I have no wish for approval of my feelings, but just need to be heard you always pay close attention to what I had to say. You honor me with that kindness and often help me often bear what you or even I do not understand.

All too aware I am of my shortcomings and faults. Certainly you must see them too, yet you rarely acknowledge them and chose instead to see the good in me. You have always seen more than I have ever believed about myself and tell me so. Never will I see me as you do, but my view of self is far better than it ever could have been without you.

Together with you over time I have learned the joy of doing nothing. Just being together gave hours great value and there was nothing we had to do to make it so. I learned with you that wasting time with a friend is one of the most meaningful ways to cash in minutes of my life.

You have always given me good advice although I have not always followed it. At all times you have my best interest in mind and no other intention. I thank you for your counsel and for never trying to push it on me.

Never was I able to openly express my love of someone as a friend until our friendship. I learned how to hug each time I see you and again when we part. Never was that something I could do before, but through you such expression of affection has become natural and easy with all that I care about.

You have been kind to me when I was not being so to you.
You have been patient with me when my patience was gone.
You have helped me without questioning or without even being asked.
You have been there for me when I needed you to, but could not ask.
You have been my friend even when you did not like what I was doing or saying.
You have never made a practice of saying “I told you so’ although there have been many times you could have.
I have deep admiration your honesty and directness.
I have great respect for your power to think beyond what others see.
I marvel at your ability to express your feelings to others.
I think a lot of your multiple talents and how you put them to good use.
I marvel at how you are kind and never rude, even to those who are to you.
I have high regard for your beliefs and practice of them.
I am often astonished at how much you love and am loved by your family and friends and how those feelings are openly expressed.
I appreciate you just as you are: once single measure of flaws and imperfection and a hundred measures of quality and character.

I am privileged to have you as my friend. I am fortunate to be yours. Without hesitation or reservation, I love you clearly and freely as only a true friend can love another. Thank you for being in my life.

A friend is someone
who knows the song in your heart
and can sing it back to you
when you have forgotten the words. 
Bernard Meltzer

They Get Better When You Get Older

friendship-kids

A Friend
by Edgar A. Guest

A friend is one who stands to share
Your every touch of grief and care
He comes by chance, but stays by choice
Your praises he is quick to voice.

No grievous fault or passing whim
Can make an enemy of him
And though your need be great or small
His strength is yours throughout it all.

No matter where your path may turn
Your welfare is his chief concern
No matter what your dream may be
He prays your triumph soon to see.

There is no wish your tongue can tell
But what it is your friend’s as well
The life of him who has a friend
Is double-guarded to the end.

Friendship comprises of many human values such as sympathy, mutual understanding and compassion, but above all it is about honesty, trust and love with a degree of intimacy. Friendship is undoubtedly a central part of our lives, due to the concerns we have for our friends and also because our friends can shape who we are as a person. Most of the times we need friends for companionship, conversations and laughter, but the real virtue of friendship lies in the support that we get from our friends, and the concern that they show.

The value of friendship is something that not many people take time to ponder over and appreciate… we often take our friends for granted. Often we only realize the value of friendship when we find ourselves in need of a friend: when we are confined with problems and need a shoulder to rely on and to get advice for our complicated issues. If we find ourselves to have lost a close friend we understand what we have truly lost, and understand the importance of friendship in our lives. We have many people entering our lives, some for a short time, others longer, each on a varying scale of personal relationships from associations to intimate love and marriage. We form a bond of true friendship with only a select few, those that move with us through the stages of our lives. Mahfooz

The gravitational pull of individual friendships can have an enormous cumulative effect on the quality of our lives. Friends can link us to broader social networks, and help enrich our lives. A friend can be the emotional oasis that makes all the difference. The good news about friendships is that they get better with age, says Karen Fingerman, professor of human development and family science at the University of Texas at Austin: “It almost doesn’t matter what relationship you’re talking about. They get better when you get older.” Chicago Tribune

I will be spending the day with a dear friend of many years. A genuinely true friend like him is rare. His presence in my life is a true blessing I am enormously grateful for.

In poverty and other misfortunes of life,
true friends are a sure refuge.
Aristotle

Sooner or Later

two women on rocks edit

Love causes pain.
Love cures pain.
And love is a pain.
Where love is,
pain is never far away.
Love will fill your heart,
break your heart
and heal the heart that’s broken.
And it is true that
every love story has an unhappy ending,
sooner or later –
even if the love lasts a lifetime,
somebody dies first,
leaving somebody behind with the pain of grief.
Love is blind – and love opens eyes.
Falling in love with someone of another race,
another religion, or another class will be
both painful and instructive,
sooner or later.
Falling in love with someone
not of your sexual persuasion
will bring pain and knowledge,
sooner or later.
And falling in love with love instead of a person
will pain you and teach you,
sooner or later.
Love is an active verb – a river, not a pond.
Love can make you want to die –
and love can make you want to live.
From the book “True Love” by Robert Fulghum

Years ago I became friends with a woman I worked with who was openly gay. In spite of knowing what I did, in time I began to fall for her. I could not help it. She was beautifully feminine, lots of fun and such a caring soul. I tried my best to keep our relationship that of two good friends. It worked for a time and then one night I tried to kiss her. I was out of line. We both ended up confused. My action started the unraveling of what we shared and in a few months I moved away for a new job. I went east and a while later she went west. Within a year we lost track of each other completely.

D… where ever you are I hope you are living a good and contented life. I pray you found the woman of your dreams and are living contentedly like you hoped. The romantic love that tried to sprout within me for you has mellowed into the kind one feels for family; for a cherished friend. You taught me about how difficult the world can be for a pretty woman who isn’t straight. Some hated you for being true to yourself. Others did not understand. Maybe I didn’t way back then, but I do now. Be happy sweet Angel… where ever you are.

A rose dreams of enjoying
the company of bees,
but none appears.
The sun asks: “
Aren’t you tired of waiting?”
“Yes,” answers the rose,
“but if I close my petals,
I will wither and die.”
Paul Coelho

My ‘Family’

quality-friends

You may meet a person and instantly know that you will be best friends forever.

Other friendships develop over an extended period of time.

In some friendships you may feel a sense of equality, while in others there may be a clear sense that one is giving more to the friendship then the other.

There are no rules about how a friendship has to be.

If you are able to share your life with another human being, by all means go right ahead. All friendships are unique and special in their own way.

Each one is valuable.
http://www.familyfriendpoems.com

My heart is still glowing from my birthday experience yesterday. The phone rang all day with friends calling to wish me well. Others txt’ed or emailed their love. In the last ten years my life experience has become far richer. In mellowing and opening up to people, the number of those I love and am loved by has grown beyond what it once was or I ever dared imagine it could be. The quantity of souls who care if I live or die is humbling. For every friend I am grateful for the richness he or she brings to my life. Thank you for being my ‘family’.

A friend is like a flower,
a rose to be exact,
Or maybe like a brand new gate
that never comes unlatched.
A friend is like an owl,
both beautiful and wise.
Or perhaps a friend is like a ghost,
whose spirit never dies.
A friend is like a heart
that goes strong until the end.
Where would we be in this world
if we didn’t have a friend.
“Friends” by ‘Kira’

Even Longer…

Pooh-and-Piglet

If nobody smiled and nobody cheered and nobody helped us along,
If each every minute looked after himself and good things all went to the strong,
If nobody cared just a little for you, and nobody thought about me,
And we stood all alone to the battle of life, what a dreary old world it would be!

If there were no such a thing as a flag in the sky as a symbol of comradeship here,
If we lived as the animals live in the woods, with nothing held sacred or dear,
And selfishness ruled us from birth to the end, and never a neighbor had we,
And never we gave to another in need, what a dreary old world it would be!

Oh, if we were rich as the richest on earth and strong as the strongest that lives,
Yet never we knew the delight and the charm of the smile which the other man gives,
If kindness were never a part of ourselves, though we owned all the land we could see,
And friendship meant nothing at all to us here, what a dreary old world it would be!

Life is sweet just because of the friends we have made
and the things which in common we share;
We want to live on not because of ourselves, but because of the people who care;
It’s giving and doing for somebody else–on that all life’s splendor depends,
And the joy of this world, when you’ve summed it all up, is found in the making of friends.
“The Making Of Friends” by Edgar A. Guest

Yesterday morning I woke with a realization that brought almost instant regret. Several times through the previous day, I tried to make a mental note to call a dear friend who was about to have surgery. My intention was simple; to say I hope all goes as planned, to wish her well and say I care.

The dreadful feeling of my first thoughts of yesterday were akin to, “What if something should happen and I never get to see her again.” And there was some self-bashing going on like “How could I be so insensitive and forget to touch base with her.”

The good news is my friend came through the surgery just fine. She is suffering some with pain and discomfort, but should be just fine given time. I know she will tell me it’s okay that I had a mental slip and didn’t call. And she will mean it because she truly is my friend.

Once middle-age arrives one has been given repeated reminders to express feelings to someone while you can. All too often a person who was just fine today is gone tomorrow. The chance evaporates and regret becomes something carried forward.

When we honestly ask ourselves which people in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. Henri J.M. Mouwen

So P., my dear friend, I am sorry I did not talk to you before your surgery. I apologize and thank you for your understanding. Please know you have a special place in my heart and I am grateful that we stumbled into each other’s life and became friends.

“We’ll be Friends Forever,
won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
“Even longer”, Pooh answered.
From “Winnie-the-Pooh”
by A.A. Milne,

Disappointment: Hurt to Gratitude

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With disappointment, there are multiple layers of sadness that one experiences before being able to look on the bright side.

As adults, we do not often face disappointments in manageable doses; as such, we are stuck with the disappointment dilemma. After emotional and even physical preparation when disappointment comes, we are faced with the immediate and aftermath reactions.

Preparation anxiety: Anticipation can be exciting when we feel the adrenaline rush as we prepare for a celebration, a special date, or even dinner with friends. But what happens when you are let down by a last-minute change or cancellation? Unless you are a pessimist, mild hurt and disappointment set in.

Immediate and aftermath reactions: The most often heard immediate response to serious disappointment is this: “I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach.” But because someone else was in control, the person who was hurt can do little more than make some feeble statement such as, “It’s alright, I understand.” In many cases, it was not alright, and you didn’t understand. But you said nothing and took the high road.

Resolution or regret: If a person in one’s life disappoints once or twice, it might be understandable. But what happens if it becomes a pattern? It can only become a pattern if you allow it. This is where choice comes in and you take control.

To protect yourself and maintain self-respect, say something in a kind, but firm way. You may even wish to give the other person some wiggle room. But if you say nothing, your disappointment may soon turn to regret.

Regret is a feeling we experience because a personal choice we make does not turn out as expected. But unlike disappointment, making that decision is within our control. From “Disappointment: Three Layers, Hurt to Gratitude” by Rita Watson, MPH http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-and-gratitude/201209/disappointment-three-layers-hurt-gratitude

While not a major disappointment with lasting impact, plans for an evening with a dear friend had to be shelved. I was looking forward to doing what we had planned for over a week. However, it was not to be. The reason for the cancellation was not specifically within anyone’s control. Rather, it is an outgrowth of where my friend placed them self. That fact has now become self-evident.

Showing that I am a true friend, I expressed my disappointment and not a lot more (even thought this is the second time my friend has recently canceled long made plans). I am thankful to realize the best thing I could do was show understanding and empathy, even thought initially I wanted to spout off. I am grateful I didn’t!

Disappointment to a noble soul
is what cold water is to burning metal;
it strengthens, tempers, intensifies,
but never destroys it.
Eliza Tabor Stephenson

A Portion of Gladness

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Friends are the family you choose.
Jess C. Scott

The older I get, the more valuable old friendships become. A few new friends along the way are always hoped for and welcomed, but it is the ones of decades endurance that mean the most. For the weekend my friend Sam drove hundreds of miles to hang out with me. We are different in so many ways, but exactly alike in others; the perfect combination for an enduring friendship.

“A Friend’s Greeting”
by Edgar Guest

I’d like to be the sort of friend
that you have been to me;
I’d like to be the help that you’ve been
always glad to be;
I’d like to mean as much to you
each minute of the day
As you have meant, old friend of mine,
to me along the way.

I’d like to do the big things
and the splendid things for you,
To brush the gray out of your skies
and leave them only blue;
I’d like to say the kindly things
that I so oft have heard,
And feel that I could rouse your soul
the way that mine you’ve stirred.

I’d like to give back the joy
that you have given me,
Yet that were wishing you a need
I hope will never be;
I’d like to make you feel
as rich as I, who travel on
Undaunted in the darkest hours
with you to lean upon.

I’m wishing at this… time
that I could but repay
A portion of the gladness
that you’ve strewn along the way;
And could I have one wish this year,
this only would it be:
I’d like to be the sort of friend
that you have been to me.

Years have taught me how to love better and more openly, whether it is my son, a romantic interest or a dear old friend. I am grateful for the handful of friendships I hold most dear, but none more than my visiting friend. I am grateful for every year I’ve known him and every minute we have shared and yet will share. Thank you for being my friend Sam!

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus

Someone Who Knows All About You

Funny-Friendship-Images-Background-HD-WallpaperGetting older has caused my high school sports injury to hurt more. Some regrets have deepened. Lots of others have dissipated to be nearly evaporated. Being more thoughtful of others has been taught to we well by years of pain and grief. Like a decades old car that has been decently cared for, I have lots of miles on me but am still moving swiftly down life’s highway. I am a better friend that I ever could have been before and have come to know just how priceless a loving friend is.

American poet and song writer Shel Silverstein wrote, “How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”

My oldest friend other than my brother died a few years ago. For many years he was one of a couple of people I called my “best friends”.  The age of my friendships range now from three decades to a couple of years. And I have more than ever before in my life. Why I do is simple: I have learned to be a good friend to those I love.

More of my friends are men than women, but inside the last decade there are several deep female friendships I have been blessed with. My ability to be a good friend to a woman came through a broadened view of that gender that allowed me to see them as another person and nothing else. Love addiction and sexual compulsion used to be a blinder that narrowed my view. I am so very damn glad to have grown beyond that way of perceiving.

Friends are a strange, volatile, contradictory, yet sticky phenomenon. They are made, crafted, shaped, molded, created by focused effort and intent. And yet, true friendship, once recognized, in its essence is effortless. Stick around long enough to become someone’s best friend. From “The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration” by Vera Nazarian

It allowing others to see me, true and deep, has been the top single reason I have more friends today. There is little to hide anymore and none that I intentionally hold back. I am who I am, scars and all. My dysfunctions and past mistakes are part of what has shaped me. Only with allowing them to be openly seen can anyone know me and become my true friend.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. Henri J.M. Nouwen

So to all my dear friends, thank you for accepting me into your life. Along with my immediate family, you are the greatest treasures of my life. One of my hopes is to continue to become a better friend. For those who see me as I really am and love me just the same, “I am deeply grateful”.

A friend is someone who knows
all about you and still loves you.
Elbert Hubbard