In my experience, friendship comes in many forms and different degrees. Some people come into our lives for a season. They are perhaps part of a lesson we have to learn, or a challenge we need to rise up and meet. We also could be part of their lesson.
Some people are acquaintances. We know them and would help them if it were needed but we are comfortable with the amount of the friendship.
There are also close friends. People you trust to be there for you or as it is said, ” they have your back.” And you would always call and suggest lunch knowing that you will have a wonderful time and laughter will fill the afternoon. We all have this type of friends and they are important to our emotional well-being. They may even share stories of embarrassing moments in their lives and in your life. Trouble brings you quickly to each other for help, understanding and acceptance. Sadly, these times also cull out the real friends from the ones who can’t be depended upon. It is good to know these things.
“My friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation. ” —Helen Keller ” I am treating you as my friend, asking you to share my present minutes in the hope I can ask you to share my future plans.” —Katherine Mansfield “Friendship is mutual blackmail elevated to the level of love.” —Robin Morgan ” I cannot concentrate all my friendship on any single one of my friends because no one is complete enough in himself.” —Anais Nin ” We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.” —Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Then there are the very lucky who have had the blessing of a best friend. I have been blessed with one. I will tell you a little bit about our story. We have been best friends for thirty-seven years. We have laughed, cried, accepted, warned and loved each other knowing that this friendship will end only when one of us passes on. We also believe it will continue in a different manner in the after-life. Over the years, we have had some funny moments of serendipity between us. We have only lived in the same city together for a short period of time. Yet our communication has never stopped. We have even sent each other the same birthday card. Yes, the exact same card to each other. We have sent each other presents wrapped in the same wrapping paper. We were a thousand miles apart that time and each of us went to the store and purchased the same wrapping paper. This brought about the best of phone conversations. We laughed, cried, and felt our bond strong and healthy. Today, we are crones. We are older when we look into the mirror yet when we see each other we see a flash of speeding images of how the other has looked over the past thirty-seven years. I am going to be finally retiring to her city. I can’t imagine a better way to end this journey of life than by sharing it with her.
The picture you see below is one of us standing on a bridge over a brook at a botanical gardens. I took the shot focusing on the brook and our reflections in the water. It seems to me that this shadowy image will be what we leave here when it is our time to move on. It seemed precious to me.
The reflection of our thirty-nine years of friendship. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2012