On Wednesdays, I blog about myself, my life, the things that interest me, what I’m passionate about, or current events in my life to help you get to know me better – who I am, and what I’m about.

So being that I’m up late working tonight (Tuesday admittedly), I thought I might get a head start on my Wednesday morning blog, since I will likely now want to sleep in – because I can! Lol!

What’s on my mind tonight is friendships… and how much I value them.

I have been lucky in my life to say that I have had many dear friends over the years. I am truly blessed for the friendships that have remained through time, and distance, heartache, sorrow and change. What I have learned is that it is during the critical moments of life that one learns who their real friends are. And I must say, I am overwhelmed by the amount of true friends that I have in my life, and I treasure those friendships dearly. Those moments of crisis test the friendship, whether it holds fast and endures, or is fleeting. Crisis also proves to pave the way towards a deeper, more intimate connection… When you can let down your guards and protection to let another person hold you up in a storm. Those moments are so powerful and bonding takes place. when you can unveil the depths of your soul to another human being and have your heart guarded and protected, cherished and kept safe, you have experienced having a genuine friend, the kind who are loyal and stick around when the going gets tough! A rare and precious thing to hold onto!

When you experience having a friend who loves you just as you are and is able to endure conflict and seek resolution and reconciliation, who loves you anyway, you have found a good friend.

Now I must admit, I’ve had my fair share of friendships that have broke my heart by betrayal or manipulation, or simply just walking away. This does not help when I myself wrestle with a fear of abandonment and betrayal. I have been betrayed, more than once, and being the kind of person that I am, who attaches deeply, and loves fiercely, and deeply, a broken heart is easy to come by.

As a result, I continuously use tools and resources to know how to find and develop safe relationships with people, learning tools to know what is trustworthy and what is not, and learning to develop the skill of grace… Determining who is still safe, despite their flaws or failures.

Forgiving for me, usually takes time when I have been hurt, and I have recently learned that I have used pain as a protection mechanism to protect myself and erect walls to keep people out who have hurt me. Ironically, these same walls keep new people I am getting to know at bay, until my heart overcomes another traumatic loss and the walls slowly come down as trust is built. I am either a sucker for punishment, or I know a secret that not everyone truly experiences – the joy of real intimacy and connectedness with others. This hope for that tender connection is what drives me to forge ahead in making and developing new and deep friendships. That, and knowing that I have really good friendships already intact.

Sometimes I find it hard though, to focus on the amazing friendships I have and not on the ones that didn’t fare so well. I wrestle with ‘what could I have done differently to change the outcome?’ if anything? All the while knowing that sometimes you just can’t salvage something you still cherish.
Other people have choices too.

I value friendships very highly in my life and feel that having a friend who ‘really lets you knows them’ is like having someone give you the rarest and most beautiful treasure, and you are there to care for, and ensure it’s safety. To protect and to value and to guard and watch over it. And when it is mutual, you have a good friendship.

Sadly, I know I am not perfect either and fail in this greatest of tasks sometimes too.

I wrestle with the concept of trust sometimes. What exactly does it mean? What does it entail?
For instance, in a circle of friends, you are hurt by one of the group of friends and are seeking support from others to overcome, to grieve, to heal, to seek counsel to make amends with the friend who hurt you? Is this a breach of trust? Or gossip? What if it is indeed a grave injustice? What if you work it out with those supporting you and reconcile with the friend who hurt you only to find out that they believe you broke their trust in you? What about the innocent failings when you let something slip to your closest friends that you were entrusted not to say from another friend who shared a secret with you, and in turn become the cause of someone else’s pain, where they receive that you are not trustworthy? I have come to learn that we are all humans and in need of great grace. To the measure that we accept the flaws in ourselves will we be able to have grace for others. I used to try to be so perfect. To not fail anyone, realizing that’s not possible. Chances are I will fail, and could fail just as big as someone who has failed me. I’m gonna work on being more gracious when people fail me. I have always promised my friends that I will make amends when I realize I screwed up. But I have blind spots too (called pride or self-righteousness) and sometimes it takes a while for me to realize my imperfection, my part in the problem. But when I do, I seek to apologize and try to make amends.

And to those I have failed at giving grace to… I sincerely apologize.

I have not yet stopped loving a single friend, past or present, whether they are still in my life or the season has taken a turn, or an offense occurred, I still love each and every friend I have ever had. This is how much I value friendship. But it is hard to stay in contact with everyone over the years, during radical changes in people’s lives. You get busy or they do, you lose contact, not intentionally, but it happens. And more and more distance creeps in, and soon you have only memories of a friendship you never meant to lose.

I have learned that some friendships are forever. Some are seasonal, but they are all blessings, intended to cause both growth and bring joy to our lives.

I think fondly of the deepest friendships I have and have had in the past and I treasure the connection. I value the friends who have been ‘soul mates’ to me, and have given me a taste of what heaven should be like – being known and understood and loved, just as you are… Being so close you can almost read each other’s thoughts, each other’s hearts. It’s something mystical, beyond explanation, to connect to someone else so much, that it’s like two hearts beating as one.

I love this quote: “A friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”

Friends enrich our lives and give meaning to our life. Isn’t it funny that at the end of our life we look back and evaluate what were the most important things in life, and realize how much it was the relationships that made our lives count, far more than the successes in business or the ladder of performance we climbed or the material treasures we accumulated in our lifetime?

I value friendships. That’s just me.

I want to leave you with a couple of my favorite friendship quotes though before I sign off! Hope you enjoy! And remember to treasure the friendships in your life! They were God’s intended gift to bring you joy!

“they are closest to us who best understand what life means to us, who feel for us as we feel for ourselves, who are bound to us in triumph and disaster, who break the spell of our loneliness.” -Henry Alonzo Myers

“oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” Dinah Maura Mulock

“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by being yourself. Perhaps that is what being a friend means after all.” -Anonymous

“part of what friends experience is something that people who aren’t friends can’t know. It’s a code. It’s another language.” -Judd Nelson

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” -Walter Winchell

“you can be exactly who you are. You do not need to hide your thoughts or feelings, you do not need to perform. You do not need to do anything to be loved. Someone knows the real you and loves you anyway.” -Dr. Henry Cloud

To all my dear friends: This blog is for you! And I treasure you!