Friend: a person who you like and enjoy being with
I have had many different friends over the years.
When I was a little girl, I had one true friend, my BEST friend. Back then we didn’t use acronyms like “BFF” or call each other “besties”. We were simply spelled out: best friends. Our parents were married (no, not to each other), we didn’t have to keep up with numerous sports or after-school activities, and our summers were spent at home doing “kid stuff”, eventually getting bored , and that was fun! She lived next door to me, and we were the same age-well, six months apart, but in the same grade. We did just about everything together, and no matter which house we were playing at or in it was home. We spent every Friday night having sleep overs. We liked the same things: Barbies, playing house, drawing or coloring (although I enjoyed getting a little dirtier playing outside sometimes), and eating my mom’s homemade pizza.
When my best friend’s dad got a job in another state we were in the 4th grade, and we were devastated. Honestly, in grade school I was SUPER shy, and I had no idea how I was going to survive without her. They moved, life changed, and that same year the grade school we attended, conveniently located at the end of our block, was closed, and I had to be driven several miles away to a new school. No best friend to help ground me. No friends, period. Just a shy kid wishing she could disappear into the cracks and hide until it was all over.
It took me many friendships to understand that they are sometimes fleeting, sometimes steadfast, but each one has a contribution to make in my life. I used to get so upset when friends would stop being friends. When they’d move onto someone new, or leave town, or turn into someone I didn’t know anymore.
As I grew older this ebb and flow of people into and out of my life got easier. I was able to see the connection we all had in one way or another as the timeline moved along. I could step outside of myself and watch the relationships as parts of a whole. I think this began to happen about my mid-20’s when all of a sudden changing friends didn’t necessarily mean disappointment or hurt feelings. It only meant “change”.
Grade school friends, long gone. Junior high and high school friends, not far behind. College comrades, co-workers, church friends saying, “We gotta get together!”, “Let’s keep in touch.”, “I’ll call you soon!” I’m sure their intentions were real, or not–maybe it’s just what people say. Even me. But, either way, I knew that when one set of friends was heading to a new frontier, another set was on its way back into mine. Certainly, I have maintained contact with some of my “old” friends–back in the day we used letter writing and phone calls, now we maintain with Facebook technology. My best friend from childhood will always be my dearest BEST FRIEND. We haven’t seen each other in several years now, but the bond is forever.
Last year I opted to move away from one particular friendship that had become toxic. Once ready, there was no fear, as I knew it was the right thing to do. I’d say only a handful of times have I had to DECIDE to end a friendship for this reason. Maybe not even a handful, maybe only a couple, one being when I got sober over 15 yeas ago. It’s nice that situations typically have a way of handling themselves (providing I’m not the road block), but this one was lingering, and the longer I let it the worse it became.
It’s hard to consciously break away from someone you’ve grown to care about and love like family, but maturity and faith have given me the insight to take heed. It was even harder because this person was also our horse trainer-the only one we knew.
Not long after this decision I rescued Fancy, and I pride myself in this choice today. Again, as I look back I see the connection. I see a beautiful panorama of images showing me the transition from one part of my life to another. One set of friends to another. It’s so perfectly clear.
Recently we had a barbecue at the ranch along with a horsey play day for all to enjoy. Everyone showed up, and we had 11 horses and riders in the arena together, cheering each other on as we each tried our hand at the obstacle courses laid out. Fancy, I know, was up in heaven grazing on healthy green grass and looking down at us, celebrating the spirit of horses with our barn buddies and new horsey family of Chief and Star.
The ebb and flow of friends and friendship brought us to this place.
As I rode Chief and observed the group my heart welled with gratitude for these wonderful women (and girls) who’ve become so important to us today. Once new friends, some will pass, some will be forever like my best friend from childhood. Either way, they are an important part of our journey-a piece of the puzzle what would be missing had not earlier lessons been learned and paths chosen.
Readers, blogging FRIENDS…do you have friendships that have lasted a lifetime as well as new friends who you cannot imagine having never known? Please share!
And, as always, life is short, so grab a buddy and give a chuckle!