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Friendship – #JusJoJan 2023


Welcome to day eight of Just Jot It January for 2023. Today’s word is friendship.

Friendship. How to tackle this one?

I have quite a few acquaintances, a number of friendly relationships, a few good friends, and a handful of really close and dear friends. It is interesting to think about what makes up a friendship and what friendship makes it to the status of close friend.

I am reminded of the poem by Welsh composer Joseph Parry:

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test—
Time and change—are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.
For ‘mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast—
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

I am not sure I agree totally that old friends are best, but I do get the gist of what he is saying. I agree with the first two lines, both of which are so valuable in my book.

Our family moved around a lot when I was a child. It was difficult in the times before phones and cellphones and internet to maintain long term relationships. I am still in touch with some of those old friends, but we are not close.

I have learned over the years that friendships can be fragile. It can be a difficult lesson, but one I have come to accept. I do not believe you must struggle to keep a good friendship intact.

Years ago, I bought a book by Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, better known as SARK. She had a free online forum for her readers and I developed some of the closest friendships of my life through those old bulletin board forums. I had the pleasure of meeting many of them from all over the US and as far away as Australia, England, Scotland, and Germany. I have mourned the death of many of those friends – some of which I never met in person. It did not make the grief any less. We shared years of our life, each one of us in the confines of our own homes. I am still friends with many of them.

Living in this more remote landscape has been more challenging to develop friendships.I have made a few. Being an introvert does not make it any easier. Covid has not helped either. This community has been such a gift over these last few years of stress and lockdowns. I treasure you all.

I miss my sisters so much. We were very good friends apart from being siblings. I feel much the same about my children. They will always be my children, but they are also some of my dearest friends.

I cannot leave out animals when I think of friends. My cat Midnight, the first animal I loved from the deepest caverns of my heart to Smoky, my gray pound cat who saw me through some of the darkest moments of my life. Animals can be the best and dearest friends.

I am not a ‘friend collector’. I do not gather the names of everyone I have ever met and call them my friends. Maybe others can develop all those relationship into friendships, but that is definitely not one of my superpowers. To me, those people are acquaintances or friendly relationships.

The friends I hold closest to  my heart have earned my trust. They know me and my history as I know theirs. We share a trust and a bond that only comes from being honest and vulnerable with my heart. This is the diamond among the dust.


Written as part of Linda Hill’s JusJoJan.

Prompt word today (friendship) submitted by JezzieG from JezzieG.

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An Unexpected Friendship – #WATWB

Image that says we are the world

Welcome back to the monthly bloghop – We Are The World Blogfest. It is a time to share snippets of good news happening around the world in an effort to diminish the impact of negative news.


WATWB is co-hosted this month by Sylvia McGrath and Belinda Witzenhausen


Building bridges and establishing relationships has been difficult this last year as we all experienced isolation due to the pandemic. It has been particularly hard on young children and the elderly, both of which can be very vulnerable members of our society.

Two-year old Benjamin Olsen found a new best friend in his slightly older next door neighbor, Mary O’Neill. Mary will be 100 in December. It is that age difference that makes this friendship so unexpected and so endearing.

You can read more of this delightful story here. We could all use a new friend, I think.


Want to read more good news or join in the effort to contribute to the spreading of good news throughout the world? Use the hashtag #WATWB on your good news post and share it in our Facebook community here or on Twitter at @WATWB so others can read your post.

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Friendship

Day 196

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Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

This is such a busy and chaotic world sometimes. We are like a mythological beast with hundreds of tentacles needing to be fed. Each one requires something different of us. In each of us, however, there comes a time when we no longer have the energy to feed the beast and all we need is a minute to breathe — a minute to be heard.

Friendship is the balm we need to ease the distractions of life. A shoulder to lean on or someone to laugh with. We get so busy it is easy to take those relationships for granted.

So many of my friends throughout my life were ‘work friends’ which means that often when the work ends, so does the friendship. The same story goes for friends who are dependent on a circumstance or a place to fuel those flames and keep the friendship alive. Relocation can kill friendships because it isn’t easy any longer.

I have many friends that have withstood the test of time and distance and change. Others did not fare so well. I have come to chalk it up to people evolving at different speeds with different needs. No harm, no foul.

It is important to find your tribe. Those people who are there for you. The ones who call to check up on you. The ones who just seem to be there when you need them.

Old friends are important — they are your past and every phase of you. But as I age, I have come to realize that new friends can be just as important. They are the promise of tomorrow and the supporter of your dreams.

What is most important, regardless of whether the friendship is old or new, is to be there. Reciprocate, love, and support one another. One-sided friendships will not stand the test of time.

I am thankful today for friendships old and new. And I will always strive to be a better friend than I have ever been.

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Thankful

Day 71

Sometimes in a given day, we are limited as to what we can do or accomplish. The one thing I always have the capacity for is the ability to give thanks.

Today I am thankful for soft continuous rain on a long drive, friends that check in to see how I am, a hand that reaches out and doesn’t let go, children that bring great joy to my life, and a husband whose heart amazes me a little more each and every day.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
Epicurus

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The Gift of Friendship

Day 56

As I have said many times, my family and I celebrate Christmas. I grew up in a very small town and everyone there was Christian — protestant to be more accurate. That was my norm and I knew nothing about any other religions or beliefs in the world.

I was so fortunate to be loved and to grow up in a community of really good people. I guess my youth still stands as my ‘gold standard’ as an example of what Christian people should be. Kind, caring and truly loving each other.

As I grew up, I learned that people belonged to many different religions. Most of which I had no knowledge of at all. My parents were steadfast in their beliefs and like so many people, believed their beliefs were the ‘right’ belief.

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to move around and experience the world in a way I never would have, had I never left home. I had the opportunity to meet such good people that were Catholic or Muslim or Jewish and while their beliefs were different than mine, they were in many ways spiritual in the same way I was.

Discovering Goodness

My life has been so enriched by learning more about people who are different than I. As spiritual people, we all share so much. We strive to be good people in a world where we are bombarded by a lot of negativity and hate.

If we all believe that our belief system is the ‘right one’, why do we worry so much about what other people believe? Why do we build walls to protect ourselves from other beliefs if we feel confident in ourselves? What is the threat? Why must there be hate? What are we so afraid of?

Online Friendships

I have been so fortunate in having amazing friendships with people that I met online. I have met many of them in person, but there are many more that I have never met. We are all so different. Different ages. Different occupations. Different beliefs. Different locales. Different ages.

Through these relationships, I have learned a lot about friendship. I have learned we are all more similar than we are different. I have learned we all want the same things — peace, love, happiness, laughter, and connectedness.

Surprises

Yesterday, when we returned home there was a package waiting here. It was addressed to me — yay! I wasn’t expecting anything in the mail so I was thoroughly surprised. Since we do not exchange gifts with our family anymore, I knew it was not from anyone in my family.

After reading the return address, I realized it was from a new friend I met a few months ago in an online writing class. I was overcome thinking that she took time out of her life to send and share something with me.

Inside the box, I found a beautiful handmade card that said ‘Invited’. There were eight lovely gifts inside — one for each day of Hanukkah. I was invited to participate in a few her customs and her rich, rich history. What a touching gesture.

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I cannot tell you how touched I was. I have been following her blog and learning so much about the beauty of her history and her traditions. I have also felt the pain she has felt with the recent rise in anti-semitism. It is a tough time in our country and to stand by your beliefs in the face of violence says a lot about one’s strength.

So, my friend — I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so blessed to count you as one of my dear friends. As with so many of my online friends, I wish we lived closer, but I am so thankful to have you in my life no matter the distance. The journey in my life led me here to this place and this time and I am so grateful.

“Our differences are beautiful, yet sometimes connection requires us to focus on our similarities, like the fact that we are all trying, all struggling, all wanting to be seen and to be loved. Perhaps if we start there, with this basic understanding of what it means to be alive, we will grow in our connection to one another and learn to love the beautiful differences that embody our improbable human reality.” 
Scott Stabile