Maybe I’ve been mistaken

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.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in On friendship. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Maybe I’ve been mistaken

  1. Jeff Cook says:

    It’s incredible how we can be from a different generation, and from different life experiences all together, yet long for the same sort of friendship.

    Living in this university residence has made my life so public that’s it seems I have to keep everything a secret just to retain some mental privacy. There are certainly the people who I CAN talk to, my girlfriend being one of them, but you’re right, they just can’t understand sometimes, or they don’t have the capacity to.

    Then there’s the ones who seem like they’re too wrapped up to listen for a minute. A heartfelt conversation becomes a drawn out wait for your turn to speak and receive some sort of half hearted reply. This is just agitating, because I let people in, and then I’m shot back out on the principle that I’m only good enough to listen.

    p.s. – a lot of me wishes I could have a borders, just so I could meet people at borders.

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Jeff…

      I read your words, and sometimes both amazed and humbled at your ability to weave a story, I am touched with how poignant they are at times.

      I read about your lack of privacy…I am saddened for you about that. So much for finding respite and refuge in your own home away from home.

      As far as friends go…there is something to this inter-generational thing. Those three people I spoke of in this post…they are all 10-17 years older than I am. They serve as mentors just as much as friends.

      What you and I (and some others) seek, sadly, is almost impossible to find. It is unlikely to be found amongst your peers in your vicinity.

      What you have – your unique comprehension of science, music, philosophy, psychology and ability to see the inter-relatedness among seemingly diverse areas – is a very rare gift indeed.

      It is very, very hard to find your Self acknowledged, understood and accepted by others. In part, because they lack the capacity; in part, because the society in which we live damages the connectivity between individuals. Most people live unaware, narcissistic lives, disconnected from others, despite and perhaps even BECAUSE of the technological advances designed to “reach out and touch someone” – which though it sounds noble and good, and it can be beneficial when no alternatives exist – in general, is usually distracts people from real connection with others. This isn’t limited to just college campuses or the 20-something crowd either. It’s an epidemic.

      From the very first time I came across your blog, I knew you were just beginning to discover how really different you were from most people.

      Modern society doesn’t celebrate differences, they often pathologize them. Don’t let that happen to you. Seek out mentors, keeping in mind that what you seek knows no restrictions – not time, distance, age or gender. It transcends those ordinary limitations.

      As part of identity development, finding appropriate and supportive feedback from trusted others is critical. I’m going to be posting about that very topic in the near future, when I have my thoughts fleshed out a little more.

      Perhaps you will find something of value there.

      Peace…

      p.s. Wow, no Borders? I’d be lost without somewhere to go…even if I don’t actually “meet” people there.

  2. Jennavieve says:

    I just made a post yesterday with you in mind. I hope it speaks to you.
    Much love, my friend.
    Jenna

  3. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Jennaviere…

    Thank you so much. I’ll check it out after I drop off my youngest daughter to preschool…

    Much love back.

    🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s