F is for Friendship

F

It seems that I’m becoming more comfortable with embracing challenges these days. With that in mind, I’m embracing the A-to-Z Blogging challenge, by writing about the things that I most closely associate with being alive, when I show up and engage with life as fully as possible.

And with that, I give you:

FRIENDSHIP

Oh, friendship. I could write VOLUMES on this subject alone, so where do I start? Let’s start here: I come from a very small family. I’m an only child. My mother is an only child. My father had one brother from whom he was estranged and I only saw him maybe a handful of times before he died when I was in High School. I have two first cousins that I don’t really hear from and their mother died several years ago. We had to learn of her passing by way of my father’s hometown paper. No one bothered to tell us.

I have always maintained we have two families: the one we’re born into, and the one we choose for ourselves. The biological family is a little bit of a crap shoot, but the family we choose? Oh, that’s another matter entirely. I have called my best friend, “Sis” for years. She couldn’t be closer to me if we were blood kin. Her kids call me “Aunt Carryl” and my mother “G-Ma.” I am so proud of those kids. I have friends who have known me since I was barely a toddler and they will always be “Aunt” and “Uncle” to me.

Through the My 500 Words community, I have made friends who mean so much to me, I would as soon cut off my right arm as hurt any of them. They make me laugh. They make me think. They call me out when I start believing my own BS. They encourage me in ways big and small. I feel like I’ve known them my entire life and – GAD! Has it really only been a little over a year???????

I laugh harder with my friends than I ever thought imaginable and I have cried more with them than I ever thought imaginable. I have taken on challenges that never would have crossed my mind and I have faced my own fears. I’ve confronted uncomfortable truths because of them and they have helped me discover a strength I always doubted I had.

I don’t claim to be a perfect friend, or even a very good one. I fumble a lot and I say things that are, shall we say, less than helpful – I can be surprisingly inarticulate and ham-handed at times, especially when I’m trying to figure out what on earth is going on with me. I’m grateful that they overlook my bumbling efforts at connection and fellowship. It ain’t always easy being my friend and I know that full well.

It is my friends who get me through the hard times, through the pain and the soul-searching. It is my friends I turn to when I need good counsel, or even just the recipe for a good adult beverage. It is my friends who throw me the lifeline when everything feels completely out of control and overwhelming. To my friends near and far, for the laughter and the tears, for the shared scotch and the honesty, for the spoon commentary, for the good conversation and the goofiness, for letting me walk alongside you and for holding my hair while I figuratively (and sometimes literally) threw up: Thank you. You have blessed my life in ways you cannot even begin to imagine.

 “The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.”
– Hubert H. Humphrey

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