The Art of Friendship

I dropped the kids at school this morning and, as I drove home, I pulled up at a stop light and saw a good friend stopped as well, heading in the opposite direction. We made eye contact and waved. Her kids then waved at me from the back seat and I waved back, imitating their crazy kid waves, and the light turned green and we went our separate ways. I was struck by how lucky I am to have moments like that, to see someone I've known for almost 25 years on my way home from school.

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately, about old friends and new and the challenges inherent in both.

Long-term friendships require work. We have to make an effort to see each other fully, to encourage each other to grow and change. We have to let go of mistakes, break old patterns, remember those integral parts of each other that drew us together in the first place.

I have a solid group of old friends, my chosen family. We celebrate together and have grieved together. We have shared meals and childcare. We laugh together and we annoy each other and we get mad and we get hurt and we have to get over it and I know I am lucky to have such unwavering friendships.

For years, I would say to people, "I'm not accepting applications for new friends." I didn't feel that I needed anyone else in my life.

But, in recent years, I've realized that we don't always know what we need. I have made some very good friends, new friends who have taught me so much.

I needed them and I didn't even know it.

Some of them live here and some live far away and we are figuring out friendship as we go along. How much do we share? Do we challenge each other on hard things? What is our story?

New friendships, however, benefit from the ones that came before, the ones that taught us about kindness and compassion, about accountability and forgiveness. The new and the old connect even if the people involved never meet.

Today, I'll text with one of my best friends, someone I met through blogging and have known less than five years, someone I have only seen in person on seven occasions.

Tonight, I will have dinner with that friend I saw at the stop light this morning.

I wish all the people I love could be in one place but, more than anything, I'm just happy to have incredible people in my life.

When I die, I hope the people I leave behind say, "She loved fiercely and was loved in the same way."

Really, I don't need much more beyond that.



This post was written for Just Write. Check out Heather’s post the posts of all who joined in this week.