Ok, this has nothing to with Outlander, or any of my other usual topics. I am still very upset about something that happened today and I feel a need to address the issue. The issue is friendship, the bonds of trust we forge and how something so seemingly insignificant as a casual conversation can do so much to damage that bond. It is also about how friendship and that bond of trust remain in the heart for a lifetime even after you part company and walk your separate paths of life. This is dedicated to one such friend of mine. Hopefully she will feel my spirit touch her heart, will think of me, remember me fondly and know within her own heart that I would never consciously do anything to cause her pain or heart ache.
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
In this age of social media and connections, as difficult as it might be for some to comprehend, there are still a great number of people out there who value their privacy, in fact guard it zealously. They have made a choice for what ever reason, and please understand that yes, they most likely do have a good reason! They have made a choice not to be a part of social media and or be connected to anyone… or everyone that they might have known for some brief period of their life. That is their right and their choice, so we should respect that choice. Just because we can find someone that we lost contact with years ago, does that mean that we should immediately pick up the phone, call them out of the blue for no other reason than to say, “Hey, I just thought of you and did a search of your personal information so I could say Hi, Remember me?”
When you put it in that context, would it not feel just a bit un-nerving to be on the receiving end of such a call? I can certainly understand the feeling of people fondly remembering some part of their past and wondering about those people we may have known back then, but in reality they may not have the same fond memories of that time as you and as I said, there is most likely a good reason they have chosen to cut the ties and not remain connected to all the people from their past.
Please give this some thought and remember it the next time you wonder with intense curiosity what Joe from kindergarten, Mary from middle school, John from high school, Jane from college is doing now. The next time you think to yourself, “Hey I should find them and see how they’re doing now?” If you can not find them openly and easily on any number of social media spaces, there may be a Damn good reason you can’t and they probably aren’t as extremely curious about you?
Earlier today, I chatted briefly with a friend online and he casually asked, “Hey do you ever hear from Sue?” Sue being a mutual friend of ours from the past. At one time, Sue and I were good friends, the best of friends… surviving together in a difficult atmosphere of the military at the time. After our time in the military, we remained in contact for a few years but eventually became busy with our own personal lives and grew apart. It happens, in fact it happens quite often. My friend Sue did not have especially fond memories of her time in the military and made a choice to get on with her life without constant reminders of that time. I understood that, and still do understand it completely. Some of my memories of that time are not so great either and I would prefer not to relive all of them! In light of that, we often put distance between ourselves and those more painful periods of our lives, even if that distance means that we no longer need the emotional support and connection of some of those who helped us get through it. We all have separate paths and journies to take in life and that means that sometimes we will make the decision, either consciously or unconsciously to part from a friendship. It in no way means that we do not value that friendship, those memories, it simply means that we have moved on along our path and should hold the memory of that one time friendship as dear when we’re apart as we did when we were together? We walked a path together when we needed to, when we needed each other the most… Sometimes if we’re lucky, we continue to walk that path together, but many times we don’t. We grow apart, we become different people than we were at that time in our lives and maybe, just maybe we don’t need that close physical emotional connection any longer? Maybe there is something or someone that we need, or they need along the next part of the path that is more important to our journey in life? So, there are times when we need to leave it at that, appreciate and be grateful for part they once played in our life and leave it be? If the fates that be bring us together again for some reason other than just curiosity, then we can rejoice in the reunion and enjoy more time together, if not- we should be happy with what time we had.
I bring this all up because today I made a mistake and I feel much guilt about it even though it was not I who did the act. As I mentioned, this friend asked the casual question about Sue and then I responded to his curiosity and gave him additional information which he then used to satisfy his casual wondering and curiosity. He chose to search for her, find her phone number, pick up the phone and make one of those above calls of “Hey, Remember me?” Her immediate response was to hang up the phone on him… which I can not say as I blame her for in the least! I would probably have done the exact same thing. He was not a close friend of hers back then, merely a co-worker. He knew little of her personal life and struggles during that time and there was no ongoing connection or reason for him to have any concern or interest in her life. So, he was merely curious about her and what did he think they would have to talk about after all of these years? during part of our conversation, I mentioned to him that I would get back to him later tonight on this subject when I had more time to talk to him about it. He chose not to wait for my added input or information and instead decided on a whim to call her out of the blue. Now, I feel much remorse and empathy for this friend who’s privacy was in a way violated. I feel in a way partially responsible for it and feel like I have broken one of those basic rules of friendship… trust. In any relationship, whether it is a current one or one such as ours, a long distant past one, there is that matter of trust in each other?
My heart is hurting for this woman, this friend, who has taken such measures over the years to guard her privacy and her life from the unwanted intrusions into her past and her personal life. The saddest part of all of this is now, should I try to contact her out so much more than idle curiosity, she will most likely hang up on me as well thinking that in some way I gave him the information with which to interfere in her life. And, she would be correct in that assumption, even if I did not do it on purpose or intentionally. That long standing trust between friends has now been broken or at least well frayed and who is to say whether it can ever be repaired? Even though we have not spoken to each other in many years, I could immediately feel some sort of heart wrenching reaction from her, knowing her as well as I did… When he told me of what he had done and signed it with an lol, I felt her startled, puzzled and then quick Irish tempered ire flare as she disconnected from him. That he could so casually laugh at her reaction and not take it seriously is the most upsetting of all to me. He, who so casually thought only of his own mild curiosity for that moment has now seriously fractured the bond of trust between himself and me as well as the much closer one I held with Sue. I have voiced my thoughts on this to him and now wonder if he will realize how much damage he has done to those unspoken yet all so important bonds of trust between friends. I wonder, sitting here in the middle of the night with a heavy heart and spirit whether I can forgive him for it should he realize or care and try to apologize? Yes, I can most likely forgive his ignorance and his lack of thought… but, I will not be able to forget it and it will remain a wedge, a severely broken thread in our friendship.
As I sit here, I think too of my friend Sue. Yes, even after all the years apart, the distance between our lives and our paths, I still call her friend because she will forever be that in my heart. There is a well filled space in my heart with memories of her. Her wild and ever untamed black curly hair that matched her equally wild at times temper and her joy. Her smile that could light up a room and a raucous laugh to go with it, her eyes that showed every emotion that she tried so hard at times to hide… her zest for life and fun but her turbulent heartbreak and tears at the pains of the rollercoaster that we were riding at the time.
I have tears in my eyes right now thinking of you my friend, and I all can think to say is this… our favorite theme song of those years together. I miss you dearly, but I understand that life goes on with or without each other. May this thought reach out and touch you somewhere, somehow, and may you remember and know that it’s from me to you!