I'm a woman who values friendship to a very high degree - maybe not more than anything but it's definitely way up there on my list of things important to me. Friendship means so much to me that I find it hard to define. Yes, I know how to look it up in the dictionary, but that's not what I mean. In my opinion, the dictionary definition of friendship doesn't even come close to defining what true friendship is.
As I was working on an earlier draft of this post, Keira Kroft posted "Who is your best friend?" as her daily get to know you question. I responded that I don't do best friends. I have way too many awesome friends to even go there. My friends are all special to me for who they are. There are certain things I value in friendship that create common threads, but each friend I have brings something a little different to my life than the others. The roles they play vary meaning my love for each is unique but equal which brings me back to Cathy, Sandy, and Lori; the three friends I saw while in Florida.
While making plans to see each of them, I began to consider their common traits and what made them different from one another. As I thought about it, I also began to see the individual roles they played in my life.
I thought I would be nervous, but I was too excited to feel nervous. All week as I practiced going with the flow and enjoying being in the moment, there was a little part of me that just couldn't wait until I saw my friends on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Within seconds Sandy and I were chatting away, talking about life, reminiscing, and catching each other up. Now, I do wonder if my husband's presence kept us from broaching a few topics that we probably would've if we'd been alone. One of the things Sandy and I enjoyed doing together was taking late night walks around the EKU campus. The campus seemed to peaceful at night. The stars were visible yet the streets of campus were well lit. There were areas where we felt we could talk in total privacy. Those late night walks became a cornerstone of my existence even when we were joined by other people. We both smiled as we talked about those walks, so I'm sure Sandy enjoyed them as much as I did. And, I have to be honest, as the time came for Sandy to head home, I wanted nothing more than to find a place and take a late night walk just like old times... Maybe next time...
Cathy and I talked nonstop once we got started which was pretty much as soon as we said hello. Introductions of our husbands out of the way, we blabbered about life and left them to talk about whatever. We reminisced about silly things we did in college and briefly discussed some people we both knew. From time to time, we joined in the guys conversation or pulled them into ours for a few minutes. Then we were back to our girl talk. It seemed liked no time had passed at all as we talked, picked up conversations in what anyone else would've considered the middle, and shared a secret or two. Well, that's what friends do... They confide in one another. We discovered that even though life had taken us in different directions and even surprised one another with one or two of those directions, we still enjoyed chatting with each other face to face.
Somehow, Lori and I went from hello and hugs to laughter in less than a second. We talked and talked and talked. Conversation was easy. We talked about shared memories and the moments we'd missed. Everything seemed relevant and important. We talked about current affairs, religion, people, and social issues. Lori and my husband chatted for a while while I chatted with Lori's Mom who joined us. Then Lori and I chatted while her Mom and my husband chatted. Again from time to time, we all joined in the same conversation. Before we knew it we had been in the restaurant from lunch time to dinner time, and so it was time for my husband and me to head back to Orlando.
Here's what I know (or was reminded of) because of these three visits (and guess what writers? These things might prove helpful in character development.):
I am lucky to have had a whole host of wonderful friends in my life many of whom still love me and whom I still love. (Yep, I said it. Love.)
Not every friendship I've had has lasted and even the ones here have had their trials. Cathy and I fell out of touch shortly after she left college and didn't reconnect until a year ago. Sandy and I exchanged letters regularly for a long time, but our contact has become more sporadic over the years. Lori and I quit speaking for several years at one point in time. But, none of that mattered when we reconnected. I've found that to be true with so many of the people in my life where the connection has been genuine and truly caring.
Friends don't care about perfection. They only care about how well you connect and whether or not you accept them as they are. They may want understanding for their mistakes, and they are willing to give you theirs for yours. They mainly just want to know you really care what is happening in their lives.
Friendship isn't marred by distance unless we allow it to be, especially not in today's world of technology.
Time is no enemy of true friendship.