Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Tale of Two Friends

What is a friend?  The dictionary definition is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.  This didn't do it for me so I dug a little deeper and I found this.  "A person well known to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty".  Almost but not quite...then I found this.  "Friendship is a personal relationship shared between each friend for the welfare of the other, in other  words, it is the relationship of trust, faith and concern for each others feelings.  It is a relationship of mutual caring and intimacy among one another.  A friend is one who knows you as a person and regards you for what you are and not what he or she is looking for in a good friend.  Best friend is one who accepts the good as well bad qualities of his friend and also takes an initiative in correcting and mending them.  Friendship is a distinctive kind of concern for your friend, it is a relationship of immense faith and love for each other. 
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This definition is as close as any I have read to describing how I feel about my friends.

What is the saying about friendship?  A person is fortunate to have one person she can consider a true friend.  Well if this is the case then I am doubly blessed because I have two women in my life I consider true friends and they came to me under quite different circumstances.

The first friendship was developed over years, nurtured, fed, watered and gently tended.  I met this woman when I was a teenager and she was a child.  I babysat her and her siblings.  Our parents were friends.  We attended church together.  She was cute but a bit annoying and sometimes a pest.  She had a slight crush on my then boyfriend who later became my husband.  She was the kid sister I had always wanted.  After I married and she was a teenager I became her confidant.  Someone she could talk to and look to for advice without judgment.  Later when my life was overwhelmed with work, motherhood and caring for my terminally ill mother-in-law she became my confidant and lifeline.  She helped me take care of my home, babysat my daughters, and most days was just here to listen and provide comfort to me.  Later she moved in with our family while she was in college.  Then again when she was going through her divorce.  I'm not sure when it happened but somewhere along our journey she became closer than a sister to me.  Such an important part of my life that without her my world would be incomplete.  We have seen each other through heartache, joy, marriage, divorce, childbirth and the loss of our fathers (both in the same year).  We know each others histories and secrets.  We don't always see eye to eye but hold a deep and profound love and respect for each other that through it all we remain closer than sisters because we chose each other.

The second friendship formed in an instant.  So fast and furious it caught me off guard.  You see I don't easily open myself up to close relationships.  I hold people at arms length, especially women.  So when I met this woman on New Years Eve 2012 I couldn't believe how much I immediately liked her.  We planned a shopping trip together, which is totally out of character for me, and suddenly the "Sistas" were born.  We share similar beliefs and histories.  The more we talked and grew to know each other we realized how similar we are.  We are both a study of contradictions.  We are strong yet vulnerable; bold yet timid; outgoing yet shy; open yet private; introverts with extrovert tendencies; feminine yet not girly; we are one but two.  So much about the way we approach life is similar that sometimes I feel like we are the same person.  But as I learn more about her history and see how she handles challenges I see how different we are.  Both thoughts are encouraging to me.  I love having someone who I understand and who understands me so completely yet who can still challenge me.  She entered my life like a flash and changed my world completely.  We share a deep and profound love and respect for each other and my world would be incomplete without her in it.

I love these women for similar and different reasons but I love them none-the-less.  They are my running partners, drinking partners, shopping partners, road trippers, sanity savers, and secret keepers.  They are my sisters and my life would not be the same without them.  

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