"To have a friend takes time."
-- Georgia O'Keefe
All respect to O'Keefe, but friendship is about more than the priority of time. It takes values in common, trust, caring, tolerance, compassion, perseverance and even love. Friendship is built on mutual acceptance of our essential natures.
When people write blessings to younger generations, they often stress that maintaining and appreciating friendship is as important as family.
"A friend is, as it were, a second self."
Our friendships sustain and define us. They balance our needs for privacy and solitude (our relationship with ourselves) with our need to connect with and be known and understood by others. Often the vow of friendship is implicit -- never spoken, though maintained and sustained over decades, distance and personal changes.
One way to get a sense of how profound and important our friendships are throughout our lives is through the magic of music. Listen to Carole King singing her 1971 song "You've Got a Friend" with her friends Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan and Shania Twain. Some of you may be moved by James Taylor's version. Even consider singing along before you begin to write to celebrate your friendships. Here's the chorus:
"You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running -- to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there -- You've got a friend."
Here are some reflections / musings as you think about your friends:
- How has the nature of your friendship changed over time?
Suggestions for Action:
- It is said that one is rich if they can count a handful of friends. How many do you count? List their names. (The list may include some who are no longer alive.)
"May your friendships enrich your life
and the lives of your friends."
-- Rachael Freed
Rachael Freed has published several works including "Women's Lives, Women's Legacies, Passing Your Beliefs and Blessings to Future Generations" and "Heartmates: A Guide for the Spouse and Family of the Heart Patient." She is currently working on "Harvesting the Wisdom of Our Lives: An Intergenerational Legacy Guide for Seniors and Their Families." Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, Rachael is a clinical social worker, adult educator and legacy consultant. Her home is Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.Life-Legacies.com and www.heartmates.us.