Friends in Ruff Places

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 Friends come in many shapes and forms. Some friendships are simple and make sense, while others are complex and difficult to navigate. Some friends are easier to talk to than others, and in some friendships, talking becomes less important than actually sharing an experience, or a fit of laughter, or a bedroom. But most friends we keep because we learn from them. Most friends keep us rooted in something while we blossom and grow, becoming who we’re meant to be. 

When I was going through my first official breakup last week, I knew that my best friend Sophie (a 2 year old golden-doodle puppy) was what I needed more than anything. Sophie doesn’t say much but she’s a good friend. She doesn’t need me to talk, she simply understands. When I’m sick she cuddles with me, when I’m mad she leaves me alone, when I’m sad she tries to get me to play ball with her, when I’m happy she’s happy too. She epitomized the unconditional love that I needed this last week. 

I never expect to learn much from our time together, but she always manages to teach me something new about myself when I visit home. This week she took a spontaneous break in the middle of our walk to sit in the shade and observe the world. She wasn’t waiting for anything- she was just still and she looked happy (as she usually does). I sat with her and we enjoyed a quiet moment in the park together for a brief moment picking at yellow flowers in the grass and watching cars zoom by, before getting up and walking home. Immediately my problems felt smaller and I was grateful to be a moving passenger on this earth. 

My friends taught me a lot of things this week. So many of them reached out to support me in my time of need. All I can do is be grateful, feel their love, and reciprocate the best that I can. How does that song go? “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” And so it is written. 

Friendship does indeed take many forms, and it approaches us in different ways than we expect. I was blessed to have a very mature conversation with my new ex-boyfriend tonight about the development of our relationship away from our relationship. That is, we were able to discuss and identify the qualities from our romantic relationship we hope to carry over into our newly platonic one, and which qualities we’ll be leaving behind. What a blessing and a privilege to transition gracefully into these new roles. 

I’ve come to learn this week that friendship is indeed what you make it. There will always be love for you if you need it. All you have to do is ask for it, define it, and nourish it. 

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