Getting 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.