Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Five Days of Being Thankful: Day 4- Thankful for Friends

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”  William Shakespeare

Today, I am really thankful for the many and awesome friends in my life, that means you. Yes, YOU! I am thankful for you. Good friends are hard to come by, and so when you find that person that allows you to be you and loves you for it, hold on to them, for in them, you have found a true friend.

Friendship hasn’t always come easy for me, mostly because up until a few years back, I found it hard to trust people. Three incidents led to this. When I was young, my very close friends and I got separated; our family had to move away and with no form of communication, it became extremely difficult to stay in touch. I did not deal with this well. It became hard for me to get close with people as I felt we would get separated and be hurt all over again. There is a happy ending to this story however; after 13+ years without seeing each other, we got reunited!

The second incident involves a personal loss I experienced when I was 13 years old. I had a cousin with whom I grew very close; we were almost inseparable. We could share anything and everything, she was my best friend. When she died in tragic circumstances (her soul R.I.P.), I was devastated. I felt betrayed; why would the one person I was this close to leave me? I swore never again…

To add to all this, the betrayal at the hands of someone close, a friend…it all seemed too much at the time and further reinforced my resolve to never again let anyone in.
Over the years, through sharing with my family, asking God to help break down the walls I had so painstakingly built around my heart, I have steadily come to trust again. In doing so, I have found true friendship in some of the most unlikely of places, and for that, I am thankful. Henri J.M. Nouwen sums it up really well when he says: “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”  The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

And it has definitely been very true in my life that “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.”  Muhammad Ali. I have and I am learning the true value and meaning of friendship, something that should not be given, or taken for granted.

So, today, I am thankful for the many people in my life I am blessed to call friend. You know who you are…

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