There are many famous quotes about friendship. Many clichés, and many pieces of advice.
The saying that wraps up the essence of friendship is this one by Elbert Hubbard; ” A friend is someone who knows you, and loves you just the same.”…or this one by Norman Douglas..”To find a friend one must close one eye; to keep him, two.”…or perhaps this one by Oscar Wilde, “It’s a very dangerous thing to know one’s friend.”
Real friendships are hard to find and are one of life’s truly precious treasures. Throughout the years, it has been my friendships, not obligatory relations that have sustained me.
In my life I have friends I’ve known since I was born. I treasure each one as they have been added to the fold because at one point in time, or many, they have been my life-preservers. They have seen me at my ugliest, both physically and emotionally and they have maintained steadfast in their commitment to our relationship. They are the women who I call and ‘talk it out with’. They are the kindred fools that giggle and cry with me.
But what about when a friendship sputters and trips? What happens when one friend feels slighted, perhaps repeatedly by their friend? Is it time for a friend break-up, or just time for a little undeclared space? I tend to go with the undeclared space. This is something that I’ve never been able to do in a romantic relationship, but offer the courtesy of to my friends. After all, I can be a rather intense prima donna when I climb up onto my soapbox. I know my tongue is sharp, and my words can slice to the quick.
Judgement is something that we all do well. Perhaps its a defense mechanism against absolute insanity, organizational chaos and anarchy. We tend to judge someone as being right or wrong, good or bad, divided by the thin line between black and white. But wouldn’t you know it? Life, as it happens, is a large slice of grey most of the time. It is our friends whom we rely upon, when we’re lost in that dank, grey, forest to bring us out on the other side. They are our oars in rough water.
Every single one of my closest friends has made me think twice about our friendship. I’m sure that each of them has spent time considering my value as a friend as well. We have all done things that we don’t respect. We’ve seen one another’s ethical underbelly and had to turn away from it’s ugliness. But we come back. We take our time, we have our talks, we listen to one another, and we mend our friendships.
We have kept secrets from one another fearing the truth would hurt our friendship; that if we were brutally honest about our bad choices, our friendship would wither in the stagnant air of disgust, only to reveal the truth years later because we felt that our friendship was strong enough to handle it. The passing years had lessened the sharpness of the blade. And we were right. Years later, five years, ten years, twenty years….it doesn’t matter so much, and life goes on.
I think about my friendships, both old and new, and I am grateful for everyone. More forgiving than romantic relationships, there is an enduring quality, a commitment to friendship which transcends the trials of living every day. Friendship is the stick we measure our experience by, the safe confessional of all of our doubts and despair.
Regardless of what they do, where they go, and the decisions they make, I hold my friends in the highest esteem. Most of them are as crazy, whimsical and hard to figure out as me. What’s not to love?
So to my friends – I love you all. Each one of you….no matter what kind of crazy you brew up today.