Thursday, October 1, 2009

on friendship.

I've been thinking. 

And as I sit down to finally type my thoughts, I find that they aren't nearly as eloquent as I first imagined. I suppose this is what comes of writing constantly in your head instead of putting thoughts to paper, of drying your hair and thinking your thoughts instead of getting out the computer to type them. 

Oh well. 

I've been thinking a lot about friendships, both lost and found, old and new. Though, admittedly, mostly old. 

I am a small group person, a girl who divulges her true self to few. I used to consider this admirable, the better option. I'd much rather have a group of close confidants than a throng of semi-acquaintances. 

But what happens when your close confidants are spread about the Southeast, and you are left alone? 

This is the question I've been asking myself over the past couple of weeks, as I struggle with this process of making new friends and keeping the old, the proverbial silver and gold. I've got to tell you, it's not easy. 

I feel as if I am torn; who to choose? Because, I feel like I must choose. I don't have time to be friend to all. Remember, I'm friend to few, and I like it that way. I shy from the throng and cling to the treasured couple of girls who know me best. 

So if I'm to make new friends, I'm not sure my personality can cling to the old, and vice-versa. My brain just simply can't do it. I'm not wired that way. I am all or nothing. 

And I hate it. 

I just don't do casual. I want kindred spirits, not Facebook friends. 

Kindred spirits, though, are unique. You can't have very many. 

My thoughts are tangled; do you see? 

They became even more tangled when my complementary issue of Comment magazine arrived in the mail today. (A publication recommended to me, ironically, by one of my long distance kindred spirits.)

There it was, on the cover: Long Distance Friendships.

Why, yes, I thought. 

Just what I was looking for. Just what I needed. 

Then I read this: 

"A circle of friends is a finite and time-bound joy. A circle of friends allows you to believe, for a stretch of time, that you can choose your own kin. A circle of friends is like the threshold of heaven, truly, since heaven will be a community. But in truth, in ugly truth, for much of adult life, you are essentially alone."

I read, and I wanted to cry. Because I think those words are true, and I don't like it. 

I don't like that when I'm bothered by something, I think of exactly who I want to tell, and they are unavailable to me. In a very real sense, I want heaven now, community now. 

Truthfully, I wonder if the college students I see around me understand how lucky they are. They are experiencing a little slice of heaven on earth; do they know it? 

I don't look back on my time in college with rose-colored glasses. I will admit, it took me a while to find those true friends. I'm a hard sell. My childhood did not really prepare me for the friend-making process, as my best friend and I met in the 2nd grade and have continued our friendship into adulthood, semi-successfully. I went to the same school from 2nd grade through graduation day. For the most part, my friends were consistent. 

The day my parents dropped me off at Faulkner, I bawled my eyes out. What was happening? I was alone. But then, I made friends almost immediately; those friendships, naturally, didn't last. It wasn't until several weeks in that I met my best friend-- the one who, amazingly, will be by my side through all of this life's ups and downs-- and then the others came. 

Thank you, God, for those. Those girls who became my support system. The girls who, despite all odds, have remained my friends through time and distance (and my own difficult self). Because, this December will mark the second anniversary of my graduation from college, and those friends remain. 

I think. 

Because, here is what I am learning, and what I think the article I read tonight was trying to get across: friendships change, just like everything else. 

I truly hate that, but it's true.

Tonight, I tried calling two my dear friends. The ones who I think get me better than most. 

And I couldn't reach them. 

I hope they don't read this and feel guilty. They shouldn't. No one can ever reach me by phone. I never answer because I am an overcommitted yes-woman. They have called me and texted me several times in the past month, and I have been unavailable. 

Tonight, I tried them, and they were the same. Unavailable, undoubtedly busily completing their own commitments.

Because, life, sadly, goes on. 

Why is that? 

I don't like it. I want this ball I'm on to stop its spinning, because, the truth is, three years ago, I didn't know what I had. 

No one told me I had heaven at my fingertips. 

Now, as I lay in bed waiting for the one best friend I got to bring with me, I'm wondering what will happen. 

I think I might know, and the more I comprehend it, the more comforted I become.

Because, already, in two years, I've left behind so many friends. Friends I thought would be the forever kind. And they are gone.

But a handful I still think are forever. And here is the litmus test: when we come back together, after days, months, even years, it is the same. 

Not us. We change. That is, thankfully, inevitable.

But the friendship is the same. I can't explain it, except to say that God knows I need some heaven here. So He graciously grants me those friends. The friends that rejoice when I rejoice and weep when I weep.

 I am lucky to have them, and that is why I will fight for them. Friendships do come and go, I'm convinced. They are cyclical. I suppose I will have a new batch when the next stage of my life comes around. We will be blessed by each other. 

But I intend to keep my kindred spirits, to fight for my slice of heaven. 

I want to end, because I am rambling, and I assume I've lost most of my already-slim audience. I'd like to close with some words from the article I read tonight: 

"Because I am made in God's image, I long for eternal things. Because I am redeemed for eternal life by God's Son, I connect everything I am to eternity. My relationships are no different. But we are still living in the temporal. This paradox ... is what I struggle with."



jenna said...

"Because I am made in God's image, I long for eternal things. Because I am redeemed for eternal life by God's Son, I connect everything I am to eternity. My relationships are no different. But we are still living in the temporal. This paradox ... is what I struggle with."

Wow. That so beautifully expresses something that I so often feel but have never quite been able to identify it and put into words... Though the paradox is painful at times, it is such a beautiful thing. Imagine.. we could have been trapped in the temporal....

Jordan Jones said...

This is deep...and I'm glad you've been able to maintain those friendships. (And I'm glad we were able to maintain ours.)