Friends: Relationships come in all shapes and sizes and configurations, and friendship – that is a one-on-one experience. It can expand to one-on-many, of course, like when we have our group of friends from high school, or our buddies from college.
Friendship Is Built Over Time
Yet, the deepest relationships are those built conversation by conversation, experience by experience, like grains of sand that build the beach we know we can always return to for rest and replenishment.
True friendship is the beach that, beyond all the accolades and titles and external signs of failure or success, receives and accepts you for who and what you are no matter what. These are the friends who listen to your story of happiness or pain, nod their heads, and say, “Yes, that is what happened. And you are still here. I am still here. And I care for you no matter what.”
“Let’s take a walk together near the ocean shore
Hand in hand you and I
Let’s cherish every moment we have been given
The time is passing by… “
– From “Cherish” by Kool & The Gang
The Gift of Witness
I know a group of friends who are like that with each other. They have been together at least since college, some reaching back to childhood. Life had scattered them to all ends of the earth over time, yet somehow in the later years of their careers brought them all within 50 miles of each other. They reconnected, a few at a time, and now gather as a group almost every month.
I see this around me in many people and groups. Each time there is a different story. Each gathering you can sense the flow and weight of life as time moves forward. Now they look toward the years past the work-for-family-support years.
Contemplating with Friends
As I move closer to completing my 6th decade, I too am examining –
- What is important to keep moving forward in my life?
- Who is in my life that I can depend on?
- How do I want my life to be in the next decades?
- What do I want to spend my time on that fills my heart and soul?
These are questions that can be posed while a dear friend walks quietly beside you, listening and contemplating with you. These are questions whose answers lie deep in the heart – answers which often are tempered by the reality of physical conditions, family commitments, relationships. Those things provide the perimeters of our existence – the space in which we allow ourselves to define our daily experiences.
And somewhere, when we look at everything closely enough through the lens of the heart, we can find that beach waiting.
Because I look around and see contrasts, things that are NOT what I will allow in my life.
- What relationship worth keeping would willfully require one to live in pain in order to be in it?
- What work worth pursuing would require us to continually cover the skills and talents – the Brilliance that we possess?
I do not have the answers. I only share the questions that have come to me as I have contemplated for myself the direction my life will take in the next years.
My Dear Friend
These are questions I can share with a dear, dear friend of mine. We have traveled parts of this journey in the last decade that have been very difficult – separation, divorce, illness of a loved one, death, health challenges, caregiving – all heavy things that can bring you down and keep you down if you are alone.
Yet we have popped in and out of each other’s lives, there when needed. Simply knowing she is there is enough. It is the kind of relationship that perhaps you have in your life – one where you can call after weeks or months of non-contact, and talk as if you were continuing a conversation from yesterday.
She is a precious friend because she knows me. She doesn’t raise her eyebrows when I tell her about my connections with spirit. She doesn’t condemn me when I share my missteps. She doesn’t put me on a pedestal. She holds me close in her heart, and we walk side-by-side, as equals, facing the world and all its challenges on this life path.
Friends Who Help You Get Through It All
Recently I was describing such friendship to a young one going through a wrenching breakup. Do you remember how painful such separations can be? How did you get through it? Most probably you had a friend willing to listen to you as you floundered through to find your footing again. Whether that person is still in your life or not, they were there when you needed it most. Sometimes it’s like that, isn’t it? People come and go.
They say people come into your life for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. That is easier to see as we look back across the years at the ups and downs weathered along the way – after we’ve lived some of life and have experienced the “slings and arrows.” Some have been there and disappeared shortly after. Others have been there through many, many years before falling away. Still a very few remain with us, withstanding the test of time.
The Courage to Love and Be Love
It is easy to get jaded and close off, not wanting to be hurt or feel the pain of loss. Yet, to do so is to deny yourself the experiences of love and happiness and joy – the contrasts of which are anger, sadness, and pain. They are all felt to different degrees as a relationship progresses.
Over time I have become acutely aware of how we are all connected. I believe the HeartMath ™ folks look at Resonance. Others speak of the web of life. Yet others speak of the ripples we create that are felt throughout the world.
The point is that we are not here alone. Everything we do is felt by others, felt at the subtlest levels. Those who step forward and offer their witness and friendship are those who we hold close in heart and mind – They are that first or second circle to feel our ripples.
My Prayer for You
My prayer for you is that your life is rich with experiences that fill your heart and make you shine with joy. Some pebbles, even some rocks may get in your path. You will find your way past them.
Overall, I pray the road will stretch long before you and provide beautiful views of the many facets of who you are and the light that ONLY YOU can bring to the world. And may that light be witnessed by loving friends.
Blessings for Abundant Love and Peace,
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