Aug 22, 2013

Friends

I'm lucky to have wonderful friends in my life. It wasn't always that way. I don't do well in large groups, especially if it's a large group of new people. I'm much more comfortable in smaller gatherings. When I was in school, I didn't have many friends. It was only really once I went to college that I came out of my shell, and became the person I am today.

As you know, it was my birthday earlier this week. I count it among the gifts I received that this past weekend I got to spend time with a very old friend from those college days, who before Saturday I hadn't seen (in person, at least) for 13 years. It's strange, I know, that people can drift apart for so long, and still mean so much to each other when they meet again. I thank the modern age. If not for the internet, we wouldn't have gotten back in touch, or shared stories of what happened to us since we used to hang out. We certainly wouldn't have shared our writing hopes and dreams, and for myself, I sincerely doubt I would have finished my first novel without her help.

It's often said that friends are the family we choose for ourselves. I believe this. I think there's not enough emphasis on the importance of friendship in our lives. Even in books and movies, you see moral tales of the importance of blood family and romantic relationships far more than stories about friendship.

I think my love of friendship shows in my writing. My characters tend to come from small immediate families, like myself, and so their fellow characters are not usually relatives. They suffer and triumph together, and that builds a bond.

But there are times when we can't be with our friends as often as we'd like. Responsibilities, money, travel, all these things demand time from us and we sometimes struggle to see the people we most want to. A true friend is one who'll be there, even after years apart, and still enjoy reading an e-mail, getting a phone call, or chatting online. Someone you can pick up with, right where you left off, and just fit into a comfortable place where you enjoy each other's company, no matter what you're doing. True friendship survives, and thrives. It changes you, helps you grow. And you know, no matter how hard it is to say goodbye, that you will meet again.

This is for all of my friends, especially those of you I don't get to see as often. If the measure of a man is his friends, I am blessed.


8 comments:

  1. I don't think I'd be alive, or at least I'd be in very bad shape if it hadn't been for good friends who were there for me in the dark times. I love this post, Paul.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Friends really are the ones we can count on when we need them most.

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  2. Beautiful. I never appreciated friendship enough until my friends started drifting and moving away after university.

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    1. I think that's a very common occurrence, Misha. We don't realise how valuable something is unless we're at risk of losing it.

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  3. Well said! And I think women maintain the friendships better than we do.

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    1. I think women are just encouraged to express these feelings more openly than men are. Men are usually taught to be stoic and strong, not letting on that it kills them when they can't be with someone they care about.

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  4. I'm very much like you--I came out of my shell more in college and found wonderful friends there. I do think that email and the internet are great for keeping friends connected.

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    1. I think so. Especially since I have a number of friends who are from, or have moved to, other countries. One day I'll be successful and rich enough to travel to see them whenever I want, but for now I have to make do :-)

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