Thursday, November 1, 2007

For Those Who Longed to Find a Best Friend and Found it in Themselves.

I just began reading a novel called, The Book of Bright Ideas, by Sandra Kring. I picked it up, along with about four other books, on a recent trip to Target. As I was deciding which book to read first, something about this one called out to me, and so, I started reading. Books, for me, represent journeys to places that I might never visit, but they also connect me with lives that are not my own. For the period of time that I get to spend with them, it is like getting to know someone whom I've just met...fascinating, fresh, and mysterious. Almost everything that I read, leaves me feeling accomplished, more knowledgeable, and hungry. Hungry for the next book to enter my life, hungry for meaning through words, and well, hungry because I probably read through lunch, but I'll save that problem for another time. So back to, The Book of Bright Ideas. The dedication grabbed me immediately. It tugged at my heartstrings. The statement was simple, but also quite profound. It read, "For those who longed to find a best friend and found it in themselves." Before I knew it, I had been staring at those words for several minutes, until it occurred to me that there were tears forming in my eyes. Sentimental, yes, but also powerful enough to reverberate inside of my heart until my mind was able to absorb the full meaning.

I had to consider this statement for a while before I began to understand why it had struck such a chord with me. It is not a new idea. We have heard time and time again that it is "important to become our own best friend", but after hearing something like that so many times, it starts to sound like mumbo-jumbo. So why now, why this book? Why this particular arrangement of words? I think that it has to do with "timing". There were times in my life that I had so many friends that I took for granted that I always would. There were also times when I felt so strong and healthy, that I did not realize that many of those friends, were there because of what I could provide for them. The relationships were not reciprocal, but I could not see that at the time because my own needs were minimal, or so I thought. We all reach different points in our lives when things change for us. There are mountains that we are able to climb without much assistance, because our lives are in such balance,and our ropes are so long, that we do not feel a need for someone else's help. But a few years ago, my rope broke, and I had to humble myself by letting my friends know that I needed them to help me. I needed a return on the investment that I had made in the friendships that I tried so hard to cultivate and nurture. Nothing drastic, nothing that would take very much out of someone else's day, just some kindness, and an occasional "push" or "pull" up the mountain. Slowly, very slowly, I realized that when I turned around to look for some encouragement, my "friends" were scurrying back down the mountain without me. It almost seemed, at first, like they were even clawing harder at my fraying rope in order to keep me in my place. One day, I turned around and realized that the only people who were still standing there behind me, were my husband and my daughters. They were with me all along. Those "friends", some of whom had been in my life for as long as eighteen years, went scattering back down the mountain when they realized that I could no longer be the strong one, that I no longer had much of a rope to share. I was alone, battered by illness, frightened by loneliness, and I was in disbelief.

"For all those who longed to find a best friend and found it in themselves." I am getting to that point. I am learning that I may have invested way too much time and energy in people who would never have been able to stand up to the challenges of friendship. I am not jaded because of my experiences with those people. I just know now, that I must honor my loyalty to myself, first. I know now, that when I cultivate new friendships, I must make sure that the individuals who I choose have enough extra line to share, whether times are good or times or bad. I am learning, that in order to find a "best friend", or any friend at all, for that matter, I must not only share my rope, but make sure that they are willing to share theirs, as well. I am also learning that a friend's rope does not have to be very long or very sturdy, for that matter. It only has to be long enough for two small hands, so that if need be, there will always be enough to share. I will always be ready and willing to take one of my hands off of my rope in order to lend someone else a "push"or a "pull", and I know that there are others who are willing to do the same. I have spent the past several years cultivating a friendship with someone very I have learned a very valuable lesson and the words came together in the dedication of someone else's story. May you find the "best friend" in yourself.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails