A few weeks ago I wanted to write about other topics but was compelled to share about the grand old oak. I got a hit today that it is time to write about my friend. While I know he sometimes reads my blog, I am going to proceed anyway. If he reads this post I hope he will appreciate my perspective.
On my last blog I mentioned my first close male friend. I must say I have been blessed to be friends with some amazing men. I can think of about four or five very close and incredibly rewarding friendships with men. These were platonic bonds based on shared interests, kindness, laughter, and care. All but one faded out at some point as many connections will do. The bond I write of today is not in that category. The bond did not break but a separation has made it much more difficult for me. My good friend of over fifteen years has moved to the other side of the planet. And no, I don’t mean California! He moved to a continent far far away and part of me wonders if I will see him in person ever again.
Over dinner last Labor Day weekend he casually mentioned moving next Summer. I did not see this coming. I was grateful that he told me and that I had almost a year to get used to this reality. I was very upset at the time but did my best to keep it together. His decision had nothing to do with me and was not about me. He did not really want to talk much about it and I do understand why. I wanted to act with compassion and care, not like a whiny baby.
My friend is that rare kind of human that is accepting. He acts with grace and kindness and makes it look effortless. He has a lot to say but prefers listening to talking. He actually relishes that I talk so much! He is enthusiastic about ideas and learning and has an adventurous streak. He helped me get back into meditation by inviting me to join him during breaks at work. We met at work and easily found common ground. We discovered many shared interests and a few synchs to make it more interesting. When I got promoted and moved to another building I was not certain the connection would grow. It grew and became stronger as each year passed. He never tried to change me but would challenge me from time to time. He has been so generous and giving in both small and significant ways. Remember when there was a toilet paper shortage in the US? Well there was a time when I was almost out and could not find any tp. He came over and brought me over some from his house. This is who he is, so thoughtful. A gentle, sweet soul.
Sometimes I wondered how I got so lucky. Yet I tend to fare well with guy friends. It wasn’t until later in life that I was able to meet and cultivate connections with wonderful women. It seemed that I had more in common with guys in my youth. I prefer deep conversations and competition – free zones. I am so blessed that I no longer have to consider gender a barrier anymore. I figure my issues with my mom and sister was the precursor to not feeling ” girly ” in the proper way. In 2022 this sentence I just wrote is so ridiculous, not to mention politically incorrect. Let’s just say some of my early female friends ( not all, but many) were not trustworthy or kind. But I digress…..
Our last night together was close to the Solstice, a long night with extended daylight and close to perfect weather. The conversation held many surprises and an exchange of gifts. It is always a gift to be treated so well, like a precious gem of sorts. He not only ” got me ” , but appreciated my quirks and eccentricities. We did not always agree on matters large and small and sometimes our differences required careful negotiation or navigation. And that is fine by me. But that evening I got it right. I said what was needed and held little back. I did not want to leave anything unsaid. And he responded in kind. Maturity and presence of mind are so underrated nowadays and that’s a pity.
But why did he have to leave my life in such a drastic way? I know he has family back here and plans to visit, but things have changed. I tell myself that it was destined. Perhaps, as the Course says in the section on levels of Teaching, there was nothing left to be learned. This could be true. We have a smooth friendship with minimal conflict. We allow the other to just be with few expectations. But I expected him to always be here. Why wouldn’t I ? Well, you know how expectations and assumptions go.
I am still working on acceptance; a large part of the Serenity prayer and the last stage of grief. I have really improved in my ability to let go. This could be my evolution and the aftermath of 2020. And it could also be just having lost so many people early in life. I mention often all the moves I made in childhood and how they really messed me up. I walked out of people’s lives with such regularity and without control. From this current vantage point, I realize these separations helped shape the person I have become. It seems that I find myself once again at a crossroads. Pluto transiting my 12th house is an excavation and transformation of the unconscious. Clearly this latest loss triggers all the ones that happened before. However, I have no regrets. Knowing this person has been such a gift. Spending time with him taught me so much about me and how I see myself. He is a great example of grace in action, humility, and patience. Being a witness to these qualities has been so good for me. I aspire to keep working on myself so that our differences in embodying these values will be less stark.
There is a tenderness in platonic love that is worth delineating. I always wanted an older brother growing up, someone to look out for me and to relate to in a positive way. My guy friends came very close to what I imagine a brother can be. Love without judgment, delight in the other’s uniqueness, their ” me – ness”, this is sacred. We all need more of this kind of love during our time here.
It feels right to end this post with a song. I am sharing a video whose lyrics I used in one of my first posts from 2013. While I try not to repeat songs, I will make an exception here. In some ways it seems like a romantic song, but this is not why I chose it here. It is about freedom, playfulness and togetherness, tied together with the correct sprinkling of poetry and trippyness.
Please take no one for granted, Show people how you feel and don’t hold back. Laughter matters. As does acceptance.