To all those who have, who are friends…
There are twenty years invested in one of my most endearing friendships. We went to high school together, roamed in parallel circles, knew each other in and through the extracurricular, through streams of like interests, friends, passing greetings through the halls of high school. It was after high school, I was 18, and he was 19, that our friendship deepened, grew. There was a phone call to my dorm room within months of going away to college. The voice was familiar, reminded me of home. Since then, there have been years of phone calls, travel, adventures, music, and distance between us.
But even after 20 years, a connectedness with countless miles in between, and handfuls of two-and-a-half hour conversations by phone or in person, we’ve realized friendship is not enough. Friendship is a glass with many prints, smudges, late night conversations, years of life trials, careers in bloom, personal growth, marriages, children, love and life.
After sharing those moments together or apart, still, we’ve found that the word friendship is not enough. And in a time when the word “friend” is as easy as a virtual click on the Internet, I suspect we have not truly understood the meaning of friendship at all. I wonder if society is moving away from the idea of friendship because it is far too convenient, maybe even too deceptively safe to just breeze by status updates and timelines, and not truly bargain with the time of our lives, the time it takes to color in the lines of a friendship.
We are all busy right? But I believe that becomes an excuse we convince ourselves is truth because negotiating friendships near and far, virtual or in-person is a careful threading, that often leaves our thumbs sore with desire. The desire to be closer to each other as human beings, the desire to honor the people in our lives, to be surrounded by those we say we love in word, presence, or spirit, and define ourselves, our identities with those realities of love.
As we call on the word friendship, we should hold its acts accountable to its symbolic shell, and remember we have not failed. We have simply lived, sometimes together and sometimes apart. And while we have danced for many years along the lines, tracing around our silhouettes, dark etchings, and with some erasing, we are now ready to color in those lines, those roots, give friendship the time, space, and deliberate acts it takes to thrive. Here’s to the next 20 years, starting now.
“A friend is, as it were, a second self.”—Cicero