Unfortunately, no one is allowed to choose their family. You’re stuck with each other until one of you takes a nice long dirt nap and starts pushing up daisies. Now I won’t name any names (you know who you are) but some of my family members shake their head in contempt and shame when looking my direction and probably wish that I weren’t related to them at all. I do admit, it bothers me yet I don’t often speak of it. I ain’t talking about it today either. That’s not a path I wish to travel at this moment. I’ll whine about that later when i’ve got fresh cheese and a bigger audience.
I’ve been pondering about the family we do get to choose. The ones we call friends. The folks you invite into your lives and hold close to your heart in spite of there being no familial ties. The people that see your flaws. The brave souls that will tell you that you’re being a ninny but love you in spite of it. The confidants that you can share your hopes, your dreams, your fears and your failures with. True friends.
One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives. ~ Euripides
Most of the people I thought of as friends from my childhood have gone off in different directions and while I socially interact with a few of them on Facebook, my truest, deepest friends are people that i’ve met since I became an adult. I can probably count on one hand (i’d like to use Skeeter Johnson’s hand though because he had 6 fingers as well as a thumb), the people that have impacted me to the point that I can call them a friend in the purest sense of the word. I’ve been very blessed to have met some incredibly special people over the years but I have learned that you do not have necessarily need quantity when you have quality. I count myself luckier than Skeeter Johnson in that regards.
I have learned not to give my unguarded friendship easily because i’ve been burned too many times in the past by those that did not truly understand or appreciate what I was offering. To some, the words friends and acquaintances are interchangeable and they do not see the differences as I do. I may be an oddity but I feel my emotions in technicolor. It is hard for me to trust deeply but when I do, I will let you “in” that sacred circle of vulnerability that pulses so hard that it’s tangible. I’m very protective of my heartsong. I would rather be dragged over a cattle gap twenty seven times going fifty miles an hour than allow someone the chance to hurt my heart again. But once I let you inside the sanctum of trust, I will feel it if you bleed.
A true friend stabs you in the front. ~ Oscar Wilde
But how does one know how far to push the boundaries of friendship when someone you care about is in pain? When do you cross their line of pride into that realm of hurt and when do you sit back and wait for them to come to you? I know only too well that some aches are so personal and so deep that even a friend cannot lessen the burden. I am confused and I do not know what path to take. All I can do is hope that you know the offer of my friendship and a shoulder to cry on is there for you. I am here to lean on. I’m giving you the southern comfort that you can find in friendship, not in the bottle.