Friday, June 24, 2011

Part A: True Friendship

How many people, other than family, were you friends with ten years ago that you are still friends with today? It has been said to me on more than one occasion that I am lucky to have so many good friends, I think blessed is a better word than lucky.

As we know there are many different types of friendship, some are casual, some last a while and then end and some, if we are fortunate enough, we, our friends and ourselves, establish over time, a true and genuine friendship.

The importance of having true friendships cannot be overstated. My truest and strongest friendships were really tested throughout all of the medical trials and tribulations I underwent, that ultimately led to the loss of both of my legs.

Amazingly some friends were willing to participate directly in my pre and post operative situations, some were there in other ways and some seemed to have drifted away from me and all of my medical problems. Why?

My friend, Steve, has voiced to me that he believes that some people just drift in and drift out of our lives. You are friends for while and our lives and situations change and with that change, our friendship drifts apart, ultimately ending. I agree with Steve to an extent, however, I believe the likelihood of a friendship enduring over time, takes mutual participation on both sides. The willingness of both sides of a friendship to participate by being a part of each other's lives, regardless of distance or life changing events, will determine whether a friendship will continue to survive and hopefully thrive, or will eventually end.

Sometimes, based on other people's actions, I think perhaps they do not place the importance of frienships in their lives that I tend to place them in my life. Occasionally, I have mistook the type of friendship that existed between me and another, mistaking a casual acquaintance, for a true friend.

I have lost some friendships that I had thought would be long lasting and yet the friendship did not last. If you have disappointed a friend in some way, shouldn't the friend let you know what it was you did to disappoint them and thus allow you the chance to make amends?

In one instance, a person I was friends with for over ten years, severed our friendship over a small amount of money that was owed to her by me. I realize that the lending and borrowing of money can cause problems, and in an ideal world should be avoided. However, life happens, and sometimes you have to ask someone else to help you financially.

It seems reasonable to me that if the debt you owe is bothering them, they, as your friend, should let you know. It was my experience that I had mentioned the debt to my friend, acknowledging the fact that I realized I still owed them, but was unable to repay them at that time. Not being honest and upfront about your true feelings toward any given situation can be detrimental to your friendship. Communication between friends is essential if the friendship is going to endure.

It has been pointed out to me that in the aforementioned scenario, perhaps the person to whom I owed money, felt awkward about mentioning the debt, and so did not. Instead, at least from my perspective, she let this resentment she felt toward me and the debt, fester in her mind to the point she felt I was taking advantage of her. All the while, I had no idea how she felt.

What was most hurtful me is the fact that I wasn't given a chance to make amends and correct the situation, instead I was tried, convicted and sentenced. Instead of talking the situation through and coming to a mutual agreement, I received a letter from her demanding the balance owed her and she expressed the fact that "things were not going well." What she meant by that I have no idea, had her confidence level in our friendship remained intact, she would have told me what was going on in her life, as she had always done in the past.

I regret what happened between she and I. In the past she was a terrific loving friend. It still baffles me why she chose to sever our friendship instead of communicating her feelings to me and allowing us to jump this hurtle together and continue our friendship.

First and foremost no one wants to borrow money from another person, the borrowing of money is usually a last ditch effort to try to meet financial obligations. In my case, given the onslaught of all of the medical issues I have had to face, comes devasting financial consequences. Imagine, if you can that your ability to work is taken away from you, what would you do financially?

There have been many friends and family in my life who have helped me financially through these difficult medical issues, for that I am eternally grateful. Most of my friends know my financial situation and understand how financially ruinous my medical issues have been for me.

Having compassion is an important component of friendship, by placing yourself in your friend's situation, as best as is possible, will help you understand what they are going through.

Recently one of my dearest friends, Marguerite, came to visit me. She came to see me and she wanted to plant summer flowers on my balcony for me to enjoy, a task that has become quite challenging for me to do for myself since my total leg loss. While she was here she also went to the grocery, bought food for me and left a check on the counter, all of the things she accomplished, she did without my having to ask. When she bought the food and offered the check, tears welled up in my eyes (as they are as I am writing this).

I told Marguerite the difficulty I feel in having to accept help with such things as groceries and so forth, she understood my feelings. Marguerite went on to say that she derived pleasure from helping me, it made her feel good. She continued to explain that she herself had been helped by others in the past, and this was her way of remembering that and passing it on to another.

She asked me if the tables were turned, would I offer help to her? This was a rhetorical question because she already knew in her heart, that there was nothing I would not do for her or her husband, Paul, that was within my capacity.

This is friendship in it's truest sense, being there for each other no matter what happens. Helping your friend with complete confidence and knowing that they will always do the same for you, if the situation were reversed.

I told my sister, Rhonda, that sometimes I feel like all I do is take and not give back enough in return, she said you obviously give back enough or else they would not still be your friend.

I hope that is true.

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