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Archive for March, 2014

Friendship

Lately I have been pondering friendship – where it is, how to find it and how to recognize it.  I have few very close friends and ironically, none of them are physically close.  The women I truly count on live in places that require effort to reach.  A day trip, maybe, but a day trip that must be planned for and carefully executed.  There are no casual meetups for coffee, no impromptu dinners, no fellowship after Mass.

People say that when there is trouble look around and you will find your friends.  I think that is true, but not in the way I used to think it happened.  I always thought this meant that no one would be around to help.  That hasn’t been my experience.  When the bad comes, people don’t abandon you.  Sometimes people flock to you.  Trouble brings out the best in people because they can demonstrate sympathy and offer their best advice.  It’s easy to make a meal or give a donation.  But your true friends are the ones who when they ask, “How are you doing with everything?” you don’t think twice about giving an honest answer.  It could be good, or it could be bad but it is honest.

I have challenges in my life right now, but there are precious few people that I will share them with.  Oh, I know that many would offer sympathy or advice and be happy to listen to me “vent” but that’s where it stops.  It’s not the action (or lack of) that bothers me, it’s the simple fact that the relationship is not reciprocal.  Those well meaning people never share their lives with me.  I know there are good and bad parts of their lives, but they don’t see me as a place to lay down their burdens and to celebrate their joys.

Is it a matter of being comfortable?  It is a matter of being open?  Is it “chemistry”?  Or is it fear that being open will bring judgement rather than sympathy?  I think it is the fear that people will see us as complainers, as ungrateful for the blessings in our lives, or as less of a person for not being able to shoulder our burdens alone.  We are not meant to carry these crosses by ourselves though.  God has given us the blessing of friends to help us in our time of need.  But we often reject his gifts, in this case choosing, in our pride, to rely on ourselves.

Today, instead of lamenting the distance between us, I am grateful for my friend.  I am grateful that I can share my burdens with her and that they are lighter because of the sharing.  I am ever so grateful that she often shares her burdens with me and that we can happily celebrate our joys together as well.

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