When you’re my age it’s a remarkable pleasure to look back on your life to view the milestones. Thoughts of what I have or have not done parade around my mind as though they own the space in my memories. The key to unlocking them is by listening or talking to the friends, colleagues, or family who knew you way back when. Add a little music and it’s as if you’re walking through a video of a past you’ve long forgotten. If you feel a little self conscious about the memory you have the powerful truth that whatever it is; it’s behind you. It’s like dancing through time with all the power to turn it on and off. It’s very addictive to some of us who use that walk in the past to propel our behavior into whatever it is that we think it should be. Retrospection is a tool i use probably more than most, because I am in a continuous state of trying my absolute best to be good enough to get into heaven. To be kind enough for people to say nice things about me. To leave enough of a legacy of love that is what people remember when I am gone.
What I have learned however, is that some people; especially family, will always see me as weird, confusing, odd, off balance, untrustworthy, etc. The list goes on and on because sadly, once you make a mistake and you know the same people all these years; they never let you live past it. They never really learn to know the you that you have become. They only want to remember the you who disappointed them. The you who hurt them. The you who isn’t perfect and that taints the perspective upon which everything you say or do is judged by them.
The good news is that as I have grown I have learned that all people make similar mistakes that I have. I have learned that every friendship has bumps of disappointment. Some would ask why it has to be that way and the answer is simple. None of us are perfect and we set all of our expectations unrealistically. When we’re hurt we forget that adjusting those expectations could lead to a happier relationship, but we’d rather just accuse, stand on some made up moral high ground or list our “principals” as the reason for our inability to forgive and move past things. It’s a sad day when we expect others to be more perfect than we hold our own behaviors to be.
Another thing I have learned is that friendships are a gift. They don’t come easy. Long term friendships seem insurmountable to some. They take reaching out to remind someone how much they mean to you. Doing that and many of the accolades that people require from other people may cause a sense of being vulnerable to many. I believe it’s in this human interest where true love comes from any relationship. Where bonds are truly formed. Where the love lies. It’s in our ability to feel and see others as fallible where we all reside in the company of each other than lifts or encourages us to be better than even we think we can be. Thats the bond that separates acquaintances from that inner intimate circle that few get to see.
It’s so worth it to have friendships that take effort. The reason is because when you see each other, there’s a familiarity that is only due to faithful friendships. People who care enough to reach out. That’s just me. I care. It was important to be to write all those Christmas Letters. To reach out with phone calls. To keep in touch and be there through the saddens and the glad. That has value in my life so I take a great amount of my time and I cause action to let someone know I remember, I admire and I still care.
Today when you’re thinking about that friend that just upsets you so, remember friendships are a gift. There has to be a way to save that relationship. To make it mean more to you. Every season requires a moment to pass and that should too. Remind yourself that people need someone to lift them up, believe in them and to be their cheerleader. If you begin to do that for people, they in turn, will begin to do that for you. It comes full circle.
I want to say thank you to the woman in my life and the men who have impacted me in profound ways. Either positive or negative means very little because at one point you had direct meaning in my life. I am honored you call me a friend and blessed to have you in my life even if our friendship hasn’t lasted as long as we wished or is as strong as it could be. I cherish friendships. You are important to me. I’m thankful to know you.