“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
― William Shakespeare
I have often beaten myself up because I am not as good a friend as I want to be. I don’t call as often as I should. I don’t remember birthdays. I frequently need more than I give. And yet, I have remarkable friendships.
My mom used to tell me that all you really need are a handful of people who would help you without question if you called them in the middle in the night and needed bail money. “If you have three friends like that, you pretty much have what you need.”
Over 40 years, I have been lucky to meet and befriend dozens of women and men who meet and really exceed both Shakespeare’s and my mom’s requirements. These people not only understand me, they accept me flaws and all. Some people scoff that I call individuals “friends” whom I’ve not seen or spoken to in years. But I do not need phone conversations or cards to know that I could see Irene or Laura or Ty and know that we could pick up our relationship exactly where we left off. They would (they will) simply get me. I will not need to explain.
Likewise, my “theater friends” who are no longer part of my daily life, still are individuals who watched, encouraged and helped me through some important “growing” years. With them, I share a deep bond that is not easily broken even by geography or time apart. Newer, but not so different, are my “mom friends,” about whom I’ve already written. I even have “book friends,” people whom I might not even know were it not for our love of and passion about reading.
I am truly blessed to have close deep friendships with people who are a part of my daily life. My family, both by blood and by marriage, has listened without judgment, accepted without expectation, and encouraged me to become whoever I want to be. The handful of intimate friends I have managed to keep in my regular orbit have done the same (and apparently not because they don’t have a choice.)
Lately, I’ve come to feel all these friendships in a tangible way. As I have opened up about my new job and changes in my life, I have felt the acceptance, understanding and encouragement of all these friends. Plus, I have no doubt that many, if not all, would bail me out without question. I would do the same.
Thank you friends.