Thursday, February 4, 2010

Friends

I have never had a lot of friends but I have always had a few close friends. Quality over quantity. Once a person is my friend, they are my friend forever. It takes a lot of abuse for someone to get checked off my list for good. That dogged loyalty is honestly not the best way to go through life, though.

I admire people who have a ton of friends, who know people everywhere they go. It is good damage control to have a big circle of friends because if you lose one to bad judgment, circumstance, or death, there is still a good supply.

It is hard to be a good friend and I am not good at friendship. Some people are so confident that when disaster strikes, they know just the right thing to say and do. They step up and do the exact right thing. I never know what the hell to do. I never know what to say in times of tragedy or emergency. I blurt out some dumb thing that does not serve anyone well, and then cringe every time I recall what came out of my big mouth. I admire those people whose friendship unrolls effortlessly in concrete and real ways - people who can organize, arrange, manage. Their friendship serves those they love in authentic ways.

I give myself credit for knowing which people are worthy to count as friends, at least. I have chosen wisely over the years. Only one friend ever actually turned out to be a bad apple. By the time she ran off with my significant other, she had already stabbed me in the back so many times she was off my list anyway. (I should be so good at choosing significant others as I am at choosing friends!)

I have often looked at the people who apparently love me as their friend and wonder what it is I possibly offer these good folks. When I compare myself to them, to the things I love so dearly in them, I find myself lacking.

A few of my friends are difficult as hell. They are my high maintenance friends. They are opinionated and outspoken. Well.... so am I. It is when our strong opinions do not match that the high maintenance clause applies. No one wants to argue politics or religion with their friends so I reserve my opinions - which requires a lot of energy - which is a bit exhausting - hence, the high maintenance classification. I do not hold my friend's political view points against them but I am always surprised to find among my friends those who are decidedly conservative. How can we be such good friends and vote opposite party lines?

Some of my friends are easy, like butter. (I always suspect I am one of THEIR high maintenance friends.) They are a balm to my spirit. God bless those gentle spirits in whose quiet and loving presence I rest my world weary heart.

Over my lifetime some of my friends have been people I greatly admire, true warriors. A few friends are deeply flawed human beings, but I cherish something courageous and brave in them. It ain't easy being a rotten human being. Though I can no longer be close to them, I love them and always will.

Because I am a damaged unit, I sometimes wonder things like if I died today, how many people would even bother coming to my funeral. Maybe a dozen people might show up - more if my children's friends show up on behalf of my son and daughter. Maybe one or two from my job. Good thing I would not be around to witness that embarrassment. I guess that kind of thinking is just part of a midlife reassessment that has been ongoing for several years now. It is not actually a crisis - more like mild anxiety, really.

I heard from two of my good friends today, a married couple - rare indeed in people from my era. It was good to hear from them. I do not see them often - we just touch base now and again. They are people I love and admire and enjoy and I always wish the best for them. They are the real deal, genuine, and trustworthy in matters of spirit. We understand each other and know what is funny. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, they are people I have known for a long time. When I met them, years apart, I knew them instantly. Of course, crazy people are sometimes instant friends because their insanity simply resonates at the same frequency.

No matter. I felt great after hearing from my good friends today.

1 comment:

cyberkit said...

"...You never knew what I loved in you,
I don't know what you loved in me..."
-Jackson Brown, Late for the Sky-

I suppose it's the total package and there isn't one (or fifty) specific thing(s). Maybe it's shared experience, or something else. There's an intimacy with close friends that's absent with a lot of those who have a wide circle of friends. It's like they've scattered themselves so wildly they don't have the energy to cultivate the intimacy. Quality or quantity.

A friend is someone who looks at you covered in warts, steeping in your own toe jam, and only sees your smiling spirit.

What you have to offer is the same thing you give your readers: yourself.

For this, we are truly thankful...