Sunday, May 06, 2007

What you don't expect

Birthdays have always been special to me, probably because my own birthday has been so ignored by most of my family and some of my friends. After so many years of being ignored, I have become used to the silence because the silence has become my friend. It's something I can count on. It's always there, wrapping me in soft folds of comfort and stability.

A young friend was pretty upset when a party she threw for her own birthday was a bust. No one showed up. She later said that she realized she hadn't spoken to or seen some of the people for six months or more. She was surprised.

Time gets away from us so quickly that we seldom recognize its passage. Caught up in chores and deadlines and demands made on our time by those around us in our families, at work, and even demands we impose on ourselves, we focus on getting everything done and not on what we're missing, like friends.

Someone once told me that a friend is someone who would give their life for you and everyone else is an acquaintance. Friendship is a stormy sea but if death is the only criteria for being a friend, it's no wonder no one shows up to celebrate the anniversary of our births.

Friendship takes tending like rare orchids and temperamental roses. It does not grow like weeds or crab grass, although some people are as just as determined to insinuate themselves in our lives. Some friends need less work than others and some demand every second of our time: free or not. Friends are as varied as snowflakes and as rare as a true blue rose, but they can also be as common as dust on the wind and just as hard to pin down or count on.

Someone can be as close as a twin sister and suddenly be as dangerous as a bear wakened too soon from its winter hibernation and there are those who stay at a distance and yet are as close as a shadow, appearing and disappearing with the passage of the sun and time. There is no rhyme or reason, only the vagaries and inconsistencies of life in an all too busy world.

The next time you look around for a friend, make certain you haven't been so caught up in your life you've forgotten to tend to theirs. Sometimes it is only a matter of listening when they need to talk or calling to say hello and remind them that you remember they're there. Nothing is so important and so earth-shattering that you can't put it off to spend a few moments chatting or send out a note to remind them you think they're special and are glad they stuck around. Friendship is like a smile; the more you offer yours, the more often someone else will offer theirs. It only takes a few moments, but it's worth the effort.

That is all. Disperse.

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