Sunday, August 09, 2009

What we do comes back

A friend sent me the e-mail about the teacher who has her students write something good about each student in the class -- you've probably received it.

If you haven't seen it, the story -- the TRUE story -- is here.

The takeaway is the message that the Universe seems to be sending me a lot lately: life is short and you never know when your time may be up, so tell people you love them now, today.

And I think the sub-message is that we need to spend our time doing things that we want to have in our lives, with people we want to be with and care about.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about the nature of friendship. She was going through a stressful situation and had asked for support from a group of friends, and I offered to do whatever she needed -- be with her, speak in her support, whatever. And I did. (She did not ask for money, mind you, or shelter, or wasn't that kind of "support.")

She'd asked another 'friend' with whom she'd done many activities for some years, and the person refused, saying that was not the kind of friendship they had.

So I thought about the nature of friendship and the kind of friend that I try to be, and the people to whom I look for friendship and support.

I'd be very surprised if I asked any of my close friends to do something and they refused because "that was not the kind of friendship" we have.

And that person would not really be my friend any longer. The trust you bring into a relationship would have been shattered.

Of course we all have some friends to whom we are closer than others -- the "BBF"s, if we're lucky enough to have one or more. They are the ones who WOULD give you shelter or money or whatever you needed, as you would for them... the ones who will always be there for you, no matter what....the ones who will give you a swift kick in the butt if you need it, and then be there to give you a big hug when you wake up!

If I am your friend, I stay that way until we've both outgrown the friendship (and even then I tend to hang on to friendships probably too long) or something happens to break the trust we share, if that even happens.

That doesn't mean that everyone I meet is my best friend and that I would do anything for any of them: I have many acquaintances, many who are 'friends,' but not friends who know my secrets and share good times and bad. And I have those, too. They're the ones who I can cry with, who listen and don't judge, who offer advice sometimes, who won't let me isolate inside my deep dark holes, but come and find me and drag me out. I am grateful for that handful of people every single day, and I try to tell them often.

What we give comes back to us. Who we are shows in what kind of people we care about. What we do has a ripple effect: it may seem small and confined in the beginning, but it can reach places we never realized it might, for far longer than we could ever guess.

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