On Being a Friend….
On Being a Friend….
Four years ago this week I sat down in front of my shiny red laptop and started out on a writing journey that I had no idea would still be going strong four years later. Now, I’m sitting in front of my shiny red laptop entering into another year of sharing my thoughts and my heart through this column. The person who started this column is not the same person who writes today; and that’s a good thing. When Amee (The Madame) asked me to start writing for her four years ago I thought it would be a short lived venture. What would I have to write about once a week for more than a few months? Yet, four years later it appears that I still have stuff to say.
I’ve written about my relationship with Amee before and what an important part of my life she has become. However, it’s those life lessons that I have learned as a result of our relationship that stirs in my heart this week as we venture into another year. If you met us individually you would never believe that we are best friends. You would never think that out of two totally different worlds a friendship like ours would evolve. If there were a matchmaking website for friendships I doubt we would have made each other’s list. But here we are more than six years later and I cannot imagine my life without her or her family.
The past several weeks have been quite transforming for me for many reasons. With encouragement and a “gentle” nudging from Amee I took a challenge to live a healthier life and begin to take better care of myself. I’ve always been more concerned with others and their needs and less concerned with myself. With encouragement from Amee I decided to take control and do something about the sad state in which I found myself in. Overweight, out of shape and not truly happy with who I had become I took a chance; what did I have to lose? The results have been incredible. I’m down 14 pounds and while that feels wonderful I have taken away much more than the weight. I’ve had a lot of time to think, reflect and ponder some of the challenges I have faced in life. I have taken time to sit in the dark quiet at night spending time with my thoughts and listen for the still small voice that lives in my heart; I listen for God. It’s in these quiet times I search for answers as to why things are the way they are. I wonder why I have allowed myself to gain the weight in the first place. Why have I allowed certain relationships to fall apart and why have I held onto relationships that just are not worth holding onto? What is it that I really want and how do I go about getting it? I’m 46 years old, what do I want to do with the second half of my life? Sitting there in the dark the whys, what if’s and how’s have been replaced with tears, sobs even and a determination to make the right choices for myself because I have decided that I am worth it. I deserve to be healthy, happy and whole.
One of the most precious things I have allowed myself to have is deep rich relationships with some pretty fantastic people. I have surrounded myself with strong faithful people who are bold enough to tell me when I mess up and who love me without condition. Allowing me to be myself but also holding me accountable is so important; I also have the same responsibility to them. Life I believe is to be lived in community. When we are born our ultimate community is our family and those our parents choose to surround us with and while those relationships are important to our early development I think that having the opportunity to seek out our own relationships is even more vital to our well-being. Lately I have come to realize that my circle of friends is quite diverse. Wondering why it is that some of my closest friends are old enough to be my parent while others are young enough to be well a much younger sibling and others are my age I have concluded that it is just that diversity that brings wholeness to life. I am smack dab in the middle of middle age which has allowed me some pretty significant life experiences that I can share with my younger friends who are dealing with things I’ve already dealt with. With my more mature friends I have found that I rely on them for their wisdom and experiences of things I currently face in the stage of life I am in. Those who share the same age bracket with me, well we are rowing the same boat and share the rowing experience from time to time; we paddle through together giving one another encouragement and holding each other up when we need it.
Life is filled with experiences that should be shared with others. Families are great but quite often families are not available due to distance, time or absence. We need to surround ourselves with relationships that will not only enhance our lives but challenge us as well. My relationship with Amee, for example is one that brings me great joy. I love her beyond words and we have a lot of fun together but what is so special about our relationship is the richness in which we relate to one another. There is nothing fake or superficial. She knew that I needed a nudge in getting on the right track with my weight and health and she loves me enough to tell me. Surrounding yourself with those who will love you when you are at your best is easy; surrounding yourself with those who will love you when you are at your worst is not always easy but necessary. If you truly love someone then you will know deep within your soul that sometimes in that love there will be toughness, a deep sense of necessary truth that may be uncomfortable to deal with at first but will always be based on love and commitment to that relationship.
Fill your life with purpose and meaningful relationships that cause you to grow your spirit and allow you to become the best you that you can be. Amee texted me the other day and told me how proud she was of me. I thanked her for the nudge. She replied that she nudged me because she would be sad if I wasn’t around. That made my heart smile a little. True friendships require us to be hard on one another once in a while; we must realize that tough love is not just something we practice on our children from time to time but with our friends as well. For me, I am blessed and beyond thankful to have those deep meaningful relationships that not only bring joy but push me to be the best me I can be. I encourage you to fill your life with similar relationships…it’s truly a good thing.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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