"If you were a library book I'd never bring you back."
It's one of my favourite sayings about friendship. Yet we all know library books have to go back. When we truly love them it may be a struggle to share them. Reluctant to let go, we long to keep them for ourselves, escape with them again and again.
But think if we never shared them with others.
Just thinking about friends today. And how important they are. And what gifts they have. And what gifts they are. I have only a few very close friends now and I can't imagine life without them. But my list of friends throughout my life is long. Or it seems long to me. How did I make those friends? And where did they all go?
Each one was important. Still is. Sometimes. Because I remember. I remember things they would remember too. But some things they wouldn't. Things they said or did. Things I needed. Things they probably didn't even realize I needed. Things they gave me without expecting anything in return. Though they wouldn't know that I guess. But sometimes I wonder if they wonder too.
If I could only find that wizard in my Oz of night-time dreams I would stage a coup and take control. And then I would dream all my friends together, old and new, in my house, let them mingle, let them drink my Scotch, watch them enjoy each other. Laugh. Tell jokes. Play games. Play dice. Stand on the deck and stare at the stars and play guitar and sing. Summer breeze tousling hair and napkins. Chords changing. Soft looks. A playful punch here and there. I would let one or two fall asleep on the couch in the midst of it all just because we all need a little nap sometimes. And I would be proud of who they are and all they are and in my heart I would whisper thank you thank you and they would know what they meant to me, still mean to me. But I would watch them from a distance just to let my eyes enjoy seeing them all again. And I would ache to rush in there and say something to make them feel comfortable and loved and appreciated and respected and listen to them and make them laugh too. And mostly see myself again the way they seemed to see me. Once. But I wouldn't do that anymore. I wouldn't go and visit with them. (Well, maybe one or two. Just for a few minutes.) Somehow that might spoil it. Some weren't meant to be in my life now. At all. I can't change that. I can't. For many reasons.
If only we had more rooms in our hearts with less locked doors, fewer gates we've closed because we had to for one reason or another, or gates open and waiting for someone to find his way back down that path again to look in our eyes and hug us and say I missed you or where have you been? Maybe someday?
When I imagine all my old friends together like this, I remark to myself, those are my friends. Or were. When doesn't seem to matter sometimes. Just them. They mattered. They matter to others now. I enjoyed them and I hope they enjoyed me. I learned. I lost. I made mistakes. I gave. I took. I saved. I let go. They let go. I kept them to myself for a while. And I gave them back. And I shared them too.