Imagine your friendship line from the beginning until now. Where exactly did important people show up to do important things? How did those friendships begin? How did they evolve? Who left? Who stayed? Who surprised you and why? Who was there just at the right time for the right amount of time? Who told you the truth when you didn’t even know you needed it? Who gave you strength? Who made you laugh? Who did you need and perhaps more importantly, who needed you? And what did you learn from all of this?
About friendship, poet Walt Whitman said, “I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends.” I think there’s some part in each of us that is surprised by friendship. Our brains are hardwired for survival and thus we default to distrust. Depending on the degrees to which we’ve been burned or betrayed or abandoned in our lives, we must sometimes consciously over-ride this impulse. But then we have those friends who are just easy. No judgment. No conflict. Even the rough patches are little more than speed bumps. After separation, things pick up exactly where they left off. We should all have at least one friend like this.
Perhaps it’s a factor of aging but sometimes now when I am amongst friends I will remove myself from the conversation and observe. It can be quite moving to see your friends being friends. Just sitting around after a good meal. Just enjoying each other’s company. Easy laughter. Ideas shared and pondered and sometimes played with like kittens batting around a ball of string. Relaxed body language. Smiling faces. Smiling eyes. Forgetting about the long day. Feeling safe. Escaping a worry or two. Feeling trouble-free. Trust. Not aware of anything other than the warmth and comfort in the room and a casual, leisurely flow of positive energy, synergy even. The conversation satisfies, it even spills over sometimes but you and I dear friend, we float along together.
As the saying goes, “to have a friend you must be one.” Is it really that easy? Probably not, except when it just…is. Today I am grateful for friends who just…are.