Friend (pronounced /frɛnd/)
1. person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.
2. a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.
Friends are usually people. If you don’t have people friends, animals make a satisfying substitute. Imaginary friends are great as well because it means that you are your own best friend. Whether you like it or not, friends are a mirror of your life, your heart, your mind, your soul. The good ones make fun of you. They listen. They make an effort. When choosing between what’s good for you and convenient for them, they might choose what’s good for you. They support your crazy ideas as well as your sage ones. They sometimes live nearby, sometimes on the continent, sometimes on other continents.
You learn by watching them. You chose them as your role model. Wegweiser. Inspiration. Motivation. Life boat. Love boat. You respect them. You admire them. You like what they do and by being their friend you do a little of what they do, too.
They are diverse. Often smart. Some find you funny. Some come from different cultures and the more different their background the more things you share. Their life stories reflect yours: where you are coming from, where you are heading to, where you’ll never go.
They might have been lost and gone and gone for good. Or found again. Sometimes it’s just a pleasant Wiedersehen. You get in touch with the part of your life which is connected to that specific person and can only be rekindled with him/her. You recognise each other and the affection is still there but it doesn’t get reignited. There are things to talk about but nothing much to say. So you wish each other well and are happy to know that this person exists somewhere.
Then there are friends who have died/killed themselves and you never quite get over it. You accept that they have made a choice, because whatever was on the other side of the scale was just too insignificant for them to be able to brace another day.
Then there are people you meet and they feel like family straight away and you don’t worry much because they will always feel that way.
Then there are friends you see again after years and years of no contact and you simply continue where you left off and time seems to be a theoretical construct rather than a distance measured in years and kilometres.
Then there are friends who stood by you all the time and all the way and you remind yourself of this fortunate endorsement whenever life kicks you about and knocks you sideways.
Then there are virtual friends, a very special species, people you feel close to because of the humanity they reveal and express through their writing, photographs, comments and emojis. Creative endeavours would be far more daunting and frustrating without their warmth, support and humour.
Then there are friends you see again after what feels like, and surely must have been, decades and only when you see them you realise the hold they have over you, that you’ve been keeping an essential part of each other which has been missing since and you’ve been a poorer and sadder person for it.
These friends are connected to a painful period and not seeing them might have meant avoiding visiting that past. But then it reappears and everything that has been knotted up and hardened inside of you, stashed away in a secure and unreachable place, charges forward and violently resurfaces.
When that happens, a steely part in your soul softens and jolts into place. You wrestle that part back because now you are able to integrate it. That friend has been the loyal keeper but only now you truly own it. Everything that has remained unsolved simply disperses and what was stagnant flows in all directions.
It’s an onslaught of emotions, all tangled up, connecting to places beyond the reach of words but that’s okay because you don’t need them.
It’s a free and unconditional kind of love because second time around you consciously choose the person again and again and again.
And there is nothing quite like it.
These people belong to the magic of life.
These people and all your friends you ought to cherish.
This kind of connection is rare and rarer still to find it again.
I was lucky it happened to me.
I’m very honoured that the great people at KINDNESS BLOG featured this post on their website. Please check out their articles, absolutely life-affirming stuff. Now needed more than ever.