I have some deep thoughts about friendship. They've been mulling about here and there, scribbled onto envelopes, receipts, and gum wrappers, and punched into various applications on the mePhone. Binding these thoughts into a post has proven itself a daunting and intimidating task. Where do I start? How do I end? And more importantly, how do I make it interesting?
As I ask myself these questions, I'm baffled by the equally daunting and intimidating friendship-making corollary: How do friendships start? How do friendships end? And more importantly how do they stay interesting? Making and keeping friends is an art, a practice, a process that is never complete. While I find the phenomenon of friend-making above and beyond magical (ask me about all of the friends I've acquired by magic,) keeping a magically acquired friend requires consistent care.
A friendship needs compassion and understanding, humor and whit, tolerance and a smidgen of clairvoyant transparency. A friendship needs love and trust, truck-loads of "give" and wobbling wheelbarrows filled with "take." Good friends come with lots of benefit and very little doubt. They call when in need, and sometimes show up with a need even before it has been asked for. A good friend will let you know when your metaphorical ass is on fire, and a great friend will listen when told about their metaphorical ass being on fire. Friends listen, love, and learn -- without judging.
Why all the fuss about friendship? I'm not sure, really. But somehow, as if my magic, I've come upon some pretty important and sincere friendships. Miraculously, I've landed upon an island of individuals that collectively keep me from drowning. And, as if this save-me-from-drowning bit is not enough, they also feed me grapes, and chase off extra heat with fanning banana leaves.
Friends are a treasure. Friends are the family you get to choose. I want to keep my friend-family. And the only way to keep a friend is to be a friend. Hence the exercise. Am I an example of that friendship factoid paragraph listed above? Nope, but I'm gonna start.