As I get older I appreciate my friendships more and more. I also gain a longer view of them; sometimes they come in and out. Sometimes friendships work in one stage of life, but not another. Sometimes they return after a long absence. I feel such immense gratitude to have the number of close, loving, highly emotionally significant friendships I do, so many people who will love and support me, who will tell me the truth, and who will also offer their own stories, their own pain, their own joys. I am glad for the mutuality and depth of these attachments.
The image that comes to mind is of a tree: what you see above the earth is a reflection of the strength and breadth of the root system below. For me, the tree’s lifeblood is communication, the sap that carries energy between the foundation of shared history and the leafing beauty of current experience.
One of my college friends was just here for a long visit, before she heads off for an overseas job. I love that our friendship has matured and grown with us, that there is room within it for our differences in temperament and perspective, outlook and comfort level.
It is comfort and joy to be loved so openly, to be seen and met. It is also trust-building to realize that sometimes people can’t or don’t see you or meet you. That we all fail, we all get distracted, we all make choices we sometimes regret later, or are just not the highest option. But long friendships show that there’s room for that too, for human nature, for understanding and forgiveness.
I would say that if the arc of history bends towards justice, it is because of love. We all have such great capacity for it, even if sometimes it’s hard to see anything other than the terrible pains and petty cruelties that also abound. But love chosen has immense power.
Thank you to all my beloved friends for the opportunity to learn these lessons.