The last few weeks, months, OK ~ the last year has been emotionally taxing. I have been stretched to the ends of my capacity for giving as a human being; and then some. There is a saying that God only gives you what you can handle, so the man upstairs must think I have very big celebrity-sized suitcases indeed!
As an only child, there isn’t the natural support network of siblings to off load on when the going gets tough, and I’m cautious about confiding too much in close friends, as they generally have their own family stuff going down. Who doesn’t?
But there is one particular friend who has blinded me with her compassion and generosity, the fact that I have known her for more than twenty years, has only intensified my respect and admiration for her as a person. Naturally, I’ve witnessed at close quarters her own family and personal trials and have listened as tales of betrayal, illness, death, teenage pregnancy and divorce unfold.
I’ve learned that real friends don’t always need advice ~ generally we all know what to do in a given situation (whether we do it or not is another matter) ~ what we do need is a pair of non-judgmental ears. The listening is the magic ingredient in these friendships. For example not commenting can be the best thing, especially if they change their mind about something in the future, something you advised against. So opinion: bad. Open-mindedness: good.
Anyway, some of you reading this may have friends you’ve known for a decade or two, or even more. Some of you may be at the start of that long and fascinating friendship journey. Wherever you are, cherish your ‘long-time’ friend like the jewel that she* truly is. I know I do.
*These sort of enduring friendships are usually same sex.