Friendship. How can you put a price or value on it? You can only measure it with memories, shared experiences, understanding, laughter, anger, great joy and great sorrow.
Friends that are in your life from childhood – those are rare, and can usually be counted on one hand. For me, its my girlfriend from Hicksville, Long Island, New York – we met when I was about 5 and she was 7. She had her wild streak in her twenties and I heard all the adventures through her long, rambling letters. She changed, moved, had a child, married, divorced, and is still my dear friend after all these years.
Short-term friends you make while at school, or in a show, or working on a concert, or traveling. Unique friends that you see rarely, but still feel so connected to that when you do finally get to talk, its as if the conversation had paused only the day before.
Close friends that know those parts of your past you would prefer to forget… but they know, and still love you. Friends that tell you the truth about something you would prefer not to see, and through their honesty, you know they love you. Friends that speak up when you need support, or quietly hold your hand when your heart is breaking. Friends that show up to see you perform . . .one more time…. just because they truly care. Friends that send you a card, in the mail, with a real stamp on it, because they know how much you treasure those old-fashioned communications.
How do you nurture those friendships? If they truly are those special souls, the most glorious gift is that it is effortless. The link is timeless. I have a girl-friend that I’ve known since we were in Junior High School. I was the tall, gawky, one-eye-browed, painfully, and I do mean painfully shy girl. The only time I ever felt good about myself was when I was playing the piano. And here was this petite, porcelain skinned, beautiful brunette that reached out to me in friendship. With the face of a Renaissance Madonna she looked like an angel to me. She was the most graceful, elegant ballerina and I loved to watch her dance. We were in choir together in junior high, then again in high school. I played for her wedding after high school but then she moved away, and we wrote letters. Life changed for her – divorce, travel, wound up in Texas for a while and she shared it all with me. We wrote pages and pages – on lined notebook paper - about what we were experiencing as we went through our twenties and into adulthood. She finally moved all the way to the Netherlands, married there and has 5 children and we still communicate. Yes, it may be emails, or Face Book messages, but the connection is still there. We share a love of Eastern Spirituality, of art, of music, of nature and beauty, and though we rarely talk in person, we’re still connected in our hearts.
Those are the special ones. Rare. Woven into our beings with colored threads that never fade. I have so many friends from various stages of my life, and each one of them has taught me something, stretched me, pushed me to grow, to be, to dare, to live more fully.
To all those souls that have crossed my path – I am so grateful for the gifts of love, laughter, shared journeys, explorations of self, changes, and new discoveries. I am rich beyond measure with the treasure each of you has gifted me – simply by being you. Thank you, thank you, with all my heart.