There’s an old saying, “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.”
The word friend can mean different things to different people. And of course, there are different types of friends; neighbor friends, work friends, childhood friends, casual friends, social friends, couples friends, family friends and the best of all, the jewels of friendship, the close friends. Defining friendship is something we do throughout our lives especially at the times when we need them the most. This is when we separate the men from the boys so to speak, or in female terms, the women from the girls. When any type of difficulty or tragedy occurs in someone’s life the one thing they need the most is to be loved unconditionally, surrounded and supported by those they know they can trust and count on, that they know value the friendship between them and care enough to say, “I’m so very sorry for your pain. I wish I could do something to take that pain away but I’m here without judgement or ill motives, and I’m not going anywhere.” That’s the time when we separate the women from the girls, the boys from the men. This is when those old and lifelong friends you’ve lost touch with reach out and rally around you with love and support. Of course we all know there’s nothing anyone can do to take away pain and suffering when it’s pain from a loss or devastating situation or betrayal of any kind, but the friendships that surround us when these things occur in life, see us through. Never allow anyone to be cruel or bully you into hurrying up or “shutting up” about what you’re feeling or “healing” on their time for their own agenda because it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable for them. This time is yours. Never allow them to devalue or minimize your pain. No one has the right to do that to another. It is real and it is yours. No one knows your pain as well as you and a true friend will not make judgements about you, how quickly you’re healing, or attempt to minimize or devalue your pain during this difficult process for their own selfish, judgmental and unfeeling reasons.
Sometimes we find friends in the most unlikely places and the ones we expected to see us through and be true through the terrible storm disappear from view or betray the friendship all together. Sometimes people appear to assist that you never expected to be in your corner. Perhaps they’ve been through a similar pain, or simply reach out to you from a place of compassion and kindness. Perhaps you never knew how much they thought of you as a person and now is the time to tell, support and show you. The reasons for disappearing may vary, not wanting to see the truth of matters because it’s inconvenient, perhaps it brings about memories of their own that are too painful to face or reconcile with, or perhaps they were not a friend for honest or the purest of reasons to begin with. Either way, it’s sometimes a necessary chore to “clean house” of the people who bring you further pain and more negativity in your greatest time of need. This allows for more time focused to celebrate the ones in your life who positively lift you up, encourage you, and allow you to grieve at your own pace and in your own time without judgements or cruelties. For they know this is temporary and time heals, or at the very least allows more time for the scar to form over. When that time has come and the metamorphosis of healing has completed, the bonds of friendship will be even stronger and have more value than ever imagined. As another old saying goes, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”