“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it’s the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, 1803–1882.
This post is written for a friend, in part because she helped propel the readership of featherglass such that it gained momentum and this blog reached its target of 10,000 hits by 31 Dec 2011. She did this by posting quite a few of my stories on her Facebook page. In return, she says she doesn’t want a flowery tribute, but something more honest and genuine. Because that’s the kind of person she is.
Members of the same small church, Yv and I had been acquainted quite long, but it must have been last year, round the time we started training for 10-kilometre trail runs on Saturday mornings that we moved beyond exchanging pleasantries. I remember painfully trying to maintain a quick stride uphill, downhill, huffing and puffing and chatting with Yv about well, nothing in particular.
Like much in life, the nothings-in-particular are important. Between women, they are the pebbles strewn on the path of mutual respect and admiration that cement feminine friendships. Over the decades, I have been blessed with strong friendships with various women–like myself, all married, with adolescent children–and having built our own families from scratch, we are resourceful, independent types who don’t demand a lot from others outside of family because there’s so much giving and taking going on within.
The one thing I’ve realized, is that as people get older, they often don’t mean what they say. If someone I consider more than an acquaintance says they’d like to meet for coffee sometime, I actually take it literally and think they would like to meet for coffee sometime. I have often felt the fool when I’ve taken the initiative to suggest this and get taken aback when people start backtracking and you realize quickly that they weren’t that keen in the first place. Why say something you don’t mean? And I’m not referring to people you’ve just met either. When old friends start giving me this line, I get very annoyed.
The big thing I discovered with Yv was her loyalty. Loyalty, like expressed sisterhood between young women, is something I thought I had outgrown. While I put a lot of weight on my good friendships (read high expectations and reciprocity) I don’t stress loyalty so much because of past disappointment and I’ve learned to depend on the love of my children and spouse. But with Yv, loyalty ranks high. For instance, if she said she’d meet me at the park at 7 am for a run, she’d never back out, even if we’d been up late the night before. She always means what she said. A foodie, she coordinates the food aspect of my glamourous-wannabe parties and generally becomes my right hand when I’m not expecting it of her.
When I had found myself in a situation that had gotten socially awkward, she was able to get to the truth of the matter and as she could not discreetly tell me so at the time, she found indirect ways to signal that everything was ok (as in, it wasn’t my foot-in-the-mouth-fault). And that touched my heart cuz I didn’t tell her to do that, nor do I think I have that ability to be discreet yet thoughtful. That is the epitome of sweetness.
It’s always the little things that say so much.
What are some aspects which have blessed your friendships? Leave a comment!