I have a deep admiration for people who have friends from their childhood. As a kid growing up and moving around from one place to another, I did not have that privilege. Really, the friends I have from childhood are my cousins and or friends they had growing up due to the small communities they came from. Although I have reconnected with a couple of friends from high school, I used to wish I had the opportunity of having the same friends from childhood. I no longer wish that.
Today, I’m thankful and grateful for the many people I have had the privilege of meeting and for those who have influenced me with their positive flow. I look back and see that over the years I have crossed paths with many people, some came into my life and left as fast as they entered. Others have stayed and remained. I think about what friendship really means to me and how significant and essential it is to human development. When it comes to friendships, you know the kinds that are healthy, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally encouraging, I believe we thrive and display optimism.
On the flip side, when we have an unhealthy, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally immature friendship with another we can become stagnant and even pessimistic. The pessimism turns into criticism and has some negative flow. (I’ve learned this the hard way, through the hard knocks of life).
Have you looked at your circle of friends? I mean have you really looked at who you call “friend” and who is really in your life? And I mean daily, weekly, monthly, hourly, etc… because I certainly have. And I am 100% certain of who is in my circle of near and dear.
For example, I have a dear friend who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I realized in the last 3 years that I have known him, he has influenced my life. Selfless? Yes. Patient? Yes. Compassionate? Definitely. Understanding? Of course. Honest? To a fault. Loyal? Yes. Trustworthy? Yes. Spiritual? Godsend.
As I started listing all these great qualities in one friend, I started looking at others and began to shake my friendship tree. I realized I had a sisterhood of friends, but only 2 best friends. I also realized I was in communication with people from throughout Indian country, but my association with them was through work. It made me think, if I was asked this one question, “Besides work, what do you have in common?”, my answer would be simple, “Not much.”
The reality opened my eyes to how meaningful friendships are. Friendships with people that are built on the pillars of trust, honesty, faith, and love is not an easy process, yet when they are established, it is a beacon of light. I look for these qualities and sometimes know immediately who I will not be able to establish a friendship with and also make a mental note that if it is not meant to be, (paraphrasing the Dalai Lama) “it is a wonderful stroke of luck”. You see I believe when a person is meant to be in our life, we know instinctively.
As I’m typing this I realize there are also certain types of friends. Some stay, some don’t. Those who stay are the ones we need to focus on and those who don’t are the ones we need to let go. Today I’m focusing on friends who help keep me on the real. Their honesty, although not always a pretty sight, is truthful and they hold me accountable. Their faith and love has helped me grow both personally and professionally and the trust that has been established allows me to be me.
Those childhood dreams of having friends from way back from are no longer prevalent and today, I’m thankful for the people who I call friends that are in my life.