I have been so blessed with an unusually large number of friends. These are friends whom I know would and have done anything for me, friends who have remained steadfast in my life for many years. I thought I would list their names and how long we have been friends. I cannot emphasize enough the value I place on my friendships. All of these people have played a pivotal role in my life and have helped shape my character.
Tricia 38 years
Mark 34 years
Kevin 28 years
Michael 26 years
Ruth 22 years
Shawn 22 years
Jena 10 years
Marguerite 8 years
Bill 8 years
Steve 6 years
Rick 6 years
Patrick 5 years
I met my friend Tricia when I was a sophomore in high school way back in 1973. She is the only person from high school with whom I have remained in contact. She currently lives in London and has recently embarked on a new romantic relationship. I last saw her in April 2009 at her mother's memorial service. We facebook and email several times a year. She like so many others has greatly enriched my life in so many ways.
My friend Mark and I have the longest friendship of all my gay friends. I met Mark when I was nineteen years old. We dated briefly in the 1970's but that quickly turned into a platonic friendship that has lasted many years. We have had lots of happy times and memories but also our share of sad times. Mark and I have one of the most special friendships in my life.
If you have been reading my blog, you already know the relationdship I had with my dearest departed friend, Kevin.
Michael, who lives in Montana, and I were lovers for five years in the late eighties. He is a wonderful person. Since our relationship ended many years ago, he has gone back to school for his master's degree and has adopted a son. It is only through the perservence of Michael that we are still in contact and are friends these many years later. I appreciate his friendship and I know I can always count on him for anything. Knowing Michael has made my life better in many ways.
Ruthie or Ruth Anne and I have been friends for twenty-two years. We met in the late eighties. We worked together for six years, she ended up getting married and moved first to Alaska and finally to Seattle where she lives today. I love my Ruthie, she has been a confidant of mine for many years. She is one of the first people I turn to for advice, she is a wise and compassionate friend. After a period of seperation, caused mostly by her bigotted, now exhusband, Al, we have a friendship that is stronger than ever. Ruth is someone whom I know in my heart will always be a part of of my life, for that I am so thankful, Shalom.
I have mentioned my friend of twenty-two years, Shawn in a blog titled, "A Tumultulous Friendship." He and I have been through a lot together but our friendship remains intact and stronger than ever.
My friend Jena, is actually my best friend Kevin's niece. I have known Jena since she was fourteen years old, however, we didn't become friends until a few years before Kevin's passing. After Kevin left this world, Jena and I became much closer. I know Kevin is responsible for our friendship. Jena has helped me in so many ways, I have such respect and admiration for her. One thing I like about Jen is her ability to "cut right to the chase." She has a way of seeing a situation and knows instinctually what action to take to resolve problems. I also see myself in her in some ways, her decorating style, her way of doing things in original ways and her taste is top notch. She is always there to lend a helping hand either intellectually or financially. I cherish my friendship with Jena and her entire family.
My dear sweet friend, Marguerite, you have already read about in the blog entry I titled "True Friendship." Marguerite and her husband, Paul, are such good friends to me. They have played the most participatory role, other than my family, throughout my leg losses. Visiting me at the hospital on several occasions, bringing me home from the hospital many times and staying with me during my recovery at my home. Marguerite is someone who has made my life so much more positive. Who would have known when we first spoke to each other from our respective screened-in porches, that many years later a cherished friendship would still be going strong? She and Paul hold a special place in my heart and always will.
And then there's Bill. Those that know me will realize to whom I am referring. I don't know what to call the relationship I have with Bill, maybe I don't have to label it at all. Bill has been a part of my life for over eight years, we have had a lot of ups and downs, on again, off again, but deep down I hope he knows I love him. Bill and I have travelled extensively together before all of my medical issues have made travel much more challenging. Even today Bill has shown his concern for my well being, offering to take me out to lunch and other ways he finds to "get me out of the house." I appreciate his efforts so much because I know it is not easy. Bill has brought a lot of excitement to my life and a fair amount of drama. I would certainly say my life has been greatly enriched knowing Bill and certainly not boring!
I would call my friend, Steve, my best friend. After the loss of Kevin I thought I would never have found the comradarie that I have found with Steve. We met at the gym and because we have shared similar circumstances in our respective lives, we became friends fairly quickly. I love Steve, I can talk to Steve, believe me when I say neither one of us is ever at a loss for words. Ours is a very easy, open and honest friendship, I feel I can tell him anything and I hope he feels the same way. Steve has a unique style in a lot of ways. I have great admiration for him, his discipline, his taste, and his personality. Steve makes me laugh and is generous to a fault. We have know each other for six years and yet I feel as if I have known him much longer. Steve has been very encouraging to me throughout all of my medical issues. One thing I know I can always count on with Steve is his honesty. He always tells me the truth, if I ask, even if sometimes the truth isn't necessarily pleasant--I love that about Steve and so much more.
I have met so many great people at Cheetah Gym. Rick is my Saturday morning workout buddy. Although I haven't been back to the gym in seven monthes I know I will eventually WALK in Cheetah on a Saturday morning and Rick will be there. Rick is always the first one to offer his help to me at the gym, even without my having to ask. A couple of times when I wasn't able to go the gym because of guess what? leg problems, I always go back on a Saturday morning specifically because I know Rick will be there. I guess I kind of consider Saturday morning, Glenn and Rick time. I miss that so much and am anxiously awaiting the day I walk in Cheetah Gym on Saturday morning and see Rick's smiling face.
My friend Patrick is such a great person, so kind, so considerate and so caring. My friendships with both Rick and Patrick, I believe began by my asking them individually and on seperate occasions, questions about working out. My five year friendship with Patrick, (which I feel is just beginning), just escalated from there. I would see him working out nearly every morning and we just started talking more and more and our friendship blossomed. Patrick has visited me on several occasions during my various hospital stents and in fact brought me home from the hospital one time. We talk on the phone frequently and we have made a vow not to let our friendship drift apart even though he now goes to another gym and I haven't been able to go back quite yet.
One of the reasons I chose to write about friendship is because it is so important to me. My friendships, all unique unto themselves, are an anchor in my life. Surrounding myself with loving and caring people has made a tremendous positive difference in my ability to handle the challenges my life has brought to me.
If you combine all of the years of friendship I have been privy to and blessed to be the recipient of, it would total 213 years, just based on the friends have mentioned here in this particular blog. Isn't that astounding?
If the statement, "You are not measured by how much you love, but rather, by how much you are loved by others." is true, which I believe it is, than friendship is the greatest blessing I have been fortunate enough to be apart of, and for that, I am thankful beyond words.