I have a co-worker who always says “Good bye my friend” when she or they are leaving. It has always been a very endearing comment and at times, when it has been directed towards me, I have felt very blessed. Not only because I am the receiver of such a comment but because over the years of getting to know the one who has called me “her friend” I have also grown to know and admire and value the one giving me that title.
Recently, I have evaluated the definition of friend and have realized that if loosely used, it loses a lot of its translation. Over the years I have given many people the benefit of the doubt when calling them my friend and I am sorry to say that I really regret how loosely I have used such an esteemed name for some who were only acquaintances passing through.
A friend is someone you invest two things in, time and love. Some of my friendships have a history attached to them and I used to think that they had card Blanche in receiving a gratis of sorts in the title attached to what would ultimately give them the label of their being a friend in my life. And now I have realized that friendship is not always a “given” if just for the mere sake of being a character chronicled in my life’s story.
A couple of weeks ago, I re connected with a friend from High School. We had been inseparable once upon a time, always together, for most of the years during High School and a few after. I met many key people in my life when I was with her. One of them was a boy I was engaged to and another, my children’s father. We played off of each other. Sometimes she was the voice of reason and other times I was. She actually was more than me but you get the jest of our friendship. We had a great one. Don’t get me wrong, she is still a great person but during our last get together I realized how we are so different. And I am not sure I saw that as clearly back then as when we met that afternoon a few weeks ago. I saw a side of her I had somehow missed for all those years. And while, I love our memories, I have to give myself permission to move on and not try to pursue a friendship that clearly has outlived it’s time. That may sound harsh but I am on a friendship journey right now and this insight into what is and what never really was, has to be a part of it.
Some people have come in and out of my life quickly and yet as the saying goes… have left footprints on my heart forever, and even in the shortest of times have gained that title as friend. As has the ones who will always have a place in my heart and yet perhaps not in my life and that is okay. There are others who we share time with, make memories with, even good ones, and grow to love them and then something happens and we realize that it was all a lie. Maybe not all of it, But at the time, we feel like all of it! When we are suddenly hit by the disloyalty and lies that blindside us. It is so unexpected, that we find it hard to trust again. Co workers, who we spend a majority of our time with usually are the ones who we tend to trust more quickly than maybe we should. Some have proven to be diamonds in the rough who have turned into some of the greatest of friends who I am sure will last a lifetime, while others not so much.
So if I call you “Friend” I have sidestepped my past hurts and I truly believe you are who you are. The one I call FriendThey are the ones I would drive four hours to hang out with. The ones who I can share a bottle of champagne with till two in the morning as they just let me cry and talk out my latest heart break. They are the ones who have shopped with me and bought our size five skinny jeans and bikinis and also our not so skinny jeans and cover ups! They have nursed my sick kids back to health when I could not, gone and picked them up when I couldn’t and listened patiently to my writings and encouraged me to write more.
They are the ones who I cry with at the sappy parts in movies and the ones who I share history with that no one else has. They are the ones who love my kids like family and are generous with beyond generous. They will deliver care packages to a sick kid from miles away on a Sunday when I can’t get to them and they will move them as many times as it takes. They are the ones who travel seven hours to see an hour show and make them feel as if they have just walked the red carpet together! We have spent a lifetime making memories and through it all, I have formed a wonderful friendship template because of them. I use it to measure all my frienships with.
And even through the bad times, the times when I have been hurt by the ones I thought were my friends, it is okay, because of the true friends I have, the great ones, the forever ones… the ones who are endlessly loyal and help me to trust, it is because of them… that I can open my heart for the new ones yet to touch my heart and I trust one more time. Because there is something great that happens when you open up your heart just a pinch and a friend walks in!