I think I have been a tad bit remiss of late with regards to friendships.
Certainly I lack regular, real, face-to-face communication with trusted friends. I can’t call anyone up and ask them to meet me at the local Borders, or to go out to share a meal with me or meet me for drinks and philosophy.
But I do not lack compassionate, committed friends.
My friend D, from my crime lab days, concerned for my well-being of late, keeps calling me to check up on me, to make sure I’m doing all right. He knows I’ve been in a bit of a crisis mode this past week. He’s an hour away from me, and while we get together only 1-2 times a year, his phone calls to me helps in so many ways. When he calls, I know I can share just about whatever is on my mind. He’s “held my space” while I cried about things and has listened without judging me. While about a year and a half ago, he was very absent from my life even over the phone (he was going through some health problems unbeknownst to me), recently, he’s more than made up for it.
My friend B, whom I’ve never seen, continues to unwaver even in the face of some very trying moments with me. We’ve been internet friends for only 7.5 months, but I’m amazed at the steadfast patience and compassion I’ve been shown time and time again. And he’s shared with me some really good book resources that have changed me in some very profound ways and and are prodding me on to grow as an individual. Sometimes this growth is very subtle, and most times I feel like a young child who is learning to walk. I keep taking a few baby steps, and then falling flat on my face. After I get up, sometimes I get too frustrated and too impatient and too irritated. I’m amazed at my friend’s compassion and patience with me. I realize there was plenty of opportunities to bail on the friendship (after all, there’s an element of un-“real”-ness to internet friendships). But, I’m astounded at the commitment I feel in this friendship, even though it’s just an internet friendship. In many ways, it’s not at all just an internet friendship.
And L, who has been along a similar path before me, taught me a few things in a very short amount of time. I am grateful for the things I’d learned from her, even though she’s another internet friend. I don’t take for granted the things I’d learned from her.
Even my husband, J, is my biggest supporter and friend, even if he can’t always understand what I’m going through. He’s shown me patience and has been graciously allowing me to lean on these people while I sort out my past. I would be in a world of trouble if he didn’t accept that I need friends like these in my life. I’m amazed that he’s secure enough and not jealous of my male friends. This is a remarkable thing and I’m very grateful for him. He might not completely understand me, but he does understand I need to do a lot of inner work, and having these friends in my life is helping.
I am beginning to realize the impact these friendships have had on my life. No, these friends are not fully present in my life – but they count just as much as if they could meet me at the local bookstore. Perhaps, in some ways, more so. If I need to “talk”, I just email and in time, they respond. I don’t have to wait until they have time for me to get something off my chest (though I do realize in some cases, it would behoove me to wait…but that’s another thing I’ve got intentions on working on too).
I may not have deep, meaningful, AND proximal friendships, but what I have shared with my faraway friends is very, deeply meaningful, touching, and wonderful. I’ll take a disembodied voice on the phone, or the abstraction of an internet friend over the alternative of having no one in my corner any day.
Life, is incredibly good. I should count the blessings I do have instead of lamenting things I don’t think I have.