The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.
-Hubert H. Humphrey
Yesterday was a terrible day at work. Not only have I found myself panicking slightly over keeping up with three different grade levels, but I was publicly (via e-mail) chastised for reaching out to the staff (via e-mail) at my new school in order to introduce myself and hopefully establish some tentative connections.
If there is one thing that I cannot stand, it is illogical actions and reactions. If I see the logic in something, even if I don’t like it, I have no problem acquiescing to that request. However, to have my friendly gesture immediately squashed and frowned upon seemed to be the epitome of injustice, and I found myself in tears, huddled over my desk like a 12 year old who just got rejected by her first crush. (Note: Yes, I am aware I cry very easily-thanks Mom-something that I hate about myself but have come to accept).
Of course, being that I am at a new school with little to no shoulders to (literally) cry on, I contented myself with texting the whole saga to my friends from my other school, and was gratified by their responses brimming with outrage, support, and love.
There was no judgement for my hasty tears (even though there was plenty from myself). There was no “Well maybe you should have thought about it first”. There was no trite responses and quick changes of subject. There was simply friendship. And what put the cherry on top of the cake was the fact that one of my friends stopped by my school during Back to School Night that night simply to give me a hug and chit chat for a few minutes before jetting off to her date that night.
Reflecting on the whole shebang, I am still irked at what transpired (although I actually received more introductions and support because of that negative response than I believe I would have if none had been sent, so there was a silver lining). However, I am so incredibly grateful to have made such amazing friends in my time here in California, and it made me appreciate anew how incredibly important real, true, deep friendship is.
We all have those friends that we see from time to time, and every encounter is filled with laughter and fun memories. However, those aren’t the moments when friendships are made strong. I have people that I could hang out with thousands of times who I would feel as close to day 40 as I did day 1. Epic memories are great, but it’s those small, fleeting moments of interaction where your guard begins to fall where true friendship is forged.
True friendship is listening to your friend cry over anything that is upsetting her and offering not only an ear and a tissue but but advice, support, and a gentle outside perspective.
True friendship is going to your friend’s Mary Kay launch party even though you have no interest in their products and but plan to buy one anyways.
True friendship is grabbing your friend’s dry cleaning because he overslept and delivering it to her at work because you always give yourself extra time in the mornings and today, he needs that suit for his big presentation.
True friendship is telling your friend exactly what you think about those jeans and her butt (and helping find a new outfit if it’s bad).
Overall, true friendship is really about true love. To borrow a phrase from the Bible, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
True love is simply operating at our highest capacity. When we are with the people that are the ones we’ve chosen as our family, we WANT to be at our best, even when they accept us at our worst. True friends bring out the amazing parts of us that we may not even know existed.
If you have real, pure support behind you, you can do anything. Simple words of encouragement can do wonders when we are bogged down on our journey, and knowing someone is within shouting distance on their own trek through the jungle truly invigorates the soul on the nights that the journey gets rough.
If you are lucky enough to have such friends, take a moment to pause and give thanks. Treat your friends well, and show them the love and support that they always show you.
If you have yet to find such friends, take a moment and dissect what you offer as a person. Are you willing to inconvenience yourself for friendship? Are you ok with giving in order to receive? Are you ever in a place where you let your authentic self shine?
Life is hard enough without having to go through it alone. Thank god that we have the ability to create a network tight enough to withstand any storm. Friendships are life’s emergency plan, and even though we will hopefully find our best friend and romantic partner all wrapped up into one, there is something pure about those solid friendships that don’t venture into the romantic territory yet are every bit as loving and committed as those we pledge our life to.
Friendship is the world’s greatest gift. Treasure it. Take care of it. Give your own. And always, always remember that a simple token given in love is worth more than all the riches in the world.