to have friends…

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“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”  Henry David Thoreau 

Dotted across my journey over all the years and all the miles are the blessings of so many treasured friendships. There is simply no doubt, I have been given these friends as gifts, to learn from and to stand by. Friends stretched across time and distance, and friends local and nearby. Friends who entered at just the right time, and even in some Divine way. Coincidence? No, the Universe truly knows the timing and necessity of a friendship. When we need a buoy, a safe harbor, the heart and soul of this person is presented to us. Some stay a very long time.  Others for only a short time.

Friendships require attention, trust, and honesty. A friendship need not be measured by the number of times a connection’s been made or visits had. There is no scorecard amongst true friends. No I called last, you call next. There is no question of the allegiance of a friend. Even the friends we do not talk to as much anymore, still once mattered and it’s with every hope that they know this to be true. Each friend matters, whether once or still, on the journey.

Over the past transitional year I found solace, peace, comfort, and strength above all,  from my friends. Some texting to say I was thinking of you, everything ok? Or calling just to check in at just the right time. Planned visits, last-minute visits. Coffee. Lunches. Walks. A beer or two! A chat to reconnect. To recalibrate. To pray together.  Friends, without even a pause, who just picked right back up in conversation with unstrained ease. Being reached by friends was the scaffolding, the firm ground in a year that sometimes felt scattered, disrupted, on soft ground.

By recently reconnecting with friends from all the way to elementary, high school, from my childhood town, I linked back to a simpler time, and to a time we all hold in a special place. I was never very good at saying goodbye.  Always wished I could just scoop everyone up and bring them along to the next place I was going to. But that’s just not how it works.  We must dare to let go.  With every hope that life will allow for a reunion, a shared time again.  A simple farewell until next time works best. Friends bring us back to a place in time, to a person we once were and it’s so easy to feel young and alive and free in the company of old friends, especially.

Truly I believe there is an invisible thread that connects friends in this life and in the next. Some cherished friends, departed too young, too soon – still enter my dreams, my thoughts, my reflections.  Still a buoy, still a solace.  Each one left me with more in my heart and soul by having known them, and loved them, for a brief shared time together on this Earth.  To my friends near and far – as you traverse the days and months ahead, I wish you peace of mind and heart, always.  And I share immense gratitude for the place you all have in my life.

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