Sing It, Ringo
Life is nothing without friends. We are not meant to travel this journey alone.
When I say “friend,” I mean that special person who is there for you in good times and in bad, that person who notices when you have not been around, that person who takes the time to write and ask how you are – and mean it.
Some people collect friends (or at least what they think are friends). Ask a person how many Facebook friends they have, and the answer will likely be in the hundreds – or thousands. Quite frankly, I would question how many of them are true friends, but I am not here to criticize that. I am here to give praise to my friends.
I don’t have many friends. I never have. This comes with the territory of being painfully shy. It’s hard for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Crowds make me nervous. When you toss in a heaping teaspoon of insecurity and mix well, you have the perfect recipe for a short friends list. Simply put: it takes me longer to get to know someone, so it’s not easy for me to make friends.I have lots of acquaintances, but not many friends.
The upside of this is that the friends I do have are loyal and true. They “get” me and put up with me. They support me when I need it (which is often). And they accept my weirdness (which is even more often).
About a week ago, I attended an event at a local elementary school. The event was for students and their parents, and was designed to promote education and literacy. I was asked to appear as a “local writer,” a term that I am still not used to. Still, I agreed because it was for an important cause.
The event was not easy for me to attend, because it pushed all my panic buttons:
1. I had to leave my house: agoraphobia
2. I had to travel to the event in a car: motion sickness
3. I had to ride in that car with strangers: social anxiety
4. Lots of people would be at the event: fear of crowds
5. The event would be noisy and possibly chaotic: flooding from input overload
The morning of the event found my stomach in knots. I did not want to go. But when I asked myself why, the answer came back: because I was afraid. And since I have vowed never to back out of anything due to fear, I had to go.
The ride there was tense, and my stomach did not ease up. We arrived later than expected, and the hustle and bustle of everyone setting up increased my anxiety. I struggled through the afternoon, having to shut my eyes and meditate several times to regain my composure and remain relatively calm. But the thing that helped the most was that I was flanked on both sides by a member of my writers group: I was surrounded by my friends.
I never told them (until now) how much it helped me to have them there and how grateful I am to have them in my life. It might sound corny, but I don’t care. It is just so empowering to have the support of such dear friends. I can never thank them enough.
But it doesn’t stop there. I have other friends who are likewise just as dear to me. They will be reading this, and they will know who they are. They keep in touch with me, and are kind and generous without expecting anything in return. This is what friendship is all about; and I can only hope that I am as good a friend to them as they are to me.
As I look ahead to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am reminded that I have a lot to be thankful for; and high on my list are my friends. Thank you all, so much!