It’s not Friday, I know, but I’ve been thinking about this prompt for several days. Friendship is something necessary to me – as necessary as breathing. But it changes as you get older. It was far easier to make friends in school, the choices were abundant. Of course, college was also an amazing place to meet like-minded people. Then your circle changes when you get married and have children. Your friends come from play groups, church groups, and school groups. They are fellow soccer moms or dance moms. Then suddenly your kids start making friends independently, friends you only meet in passing, friends who seem parent-less. And if you do meet the parents, it is also in passing – a wave from the curb when dropping off a child, a text message confirming carpool. My circle of friends has dwindled over the years. Some because they were left in Texas when I moved to Michigan, others are just on the other side of town now.
I miss the ease of past friendships, and yet, I must admit, that the friends I have now are much more connected, more intimate and with less judgement or criticism. At least that is the hope, anyway. At 40 I have less patience for high maintenance friendships, people who ask me to compromise my values or people who steal my joy. Occasionally I am surprised by unexpected friendships, especially those that have resurfaced from my past or past connections. Surprisingly, I am not leery of intentions and hope the receiver sees my transparency and my desire to be at peace with the people who have crossed my path. Maybe it is my forgiving or naive heart, but I know that I say too much. I know that often I say what I am thinking rather than what people might really want to hear. But I welcome more relationships than I say good-bye.
Perspective changes with age and experience. There are friendships that have followed me for years, and not because we have stayed in contact, but because we lost touch. I think about all of the times I wasn’t such a good friend, and wish I could take those moments back. I wish I could replace anyone’s memory of hurt with a smile. And it is in those moments of accountability that I want to hold my present friendships closer. It is in those moments of accountability that I am reminded to forgive others, even when forgiveness has not been asked for, sought or earned.
“Without forgiveness life is governed by… an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” – Roberto Assagioli