We had a friend come for the play and stay with us overnight. She is the most delightful young lady (and I realize, for the most part, "they" are all young!) who reminded me of three things.
First, friendship is a garden that provides constant beauty and amazing resilience. We make friends wherever we go, and that support and love sustains us. For the most part, however, they are annual gardens that need constant tending--attention paid, if you will--for them to flourish. That's okay. Anything worth having is something worthy on which to work (god I hate not ending sentences with a preposition. Let's make a deal. You don't count them, I'll ignore that rule?! Good!) But ignore them, either by choice or life intervention, and they wither to acquaintances and then just sort of disappear. Then there are the perennial friends. For some reason, they are always there, requiring little maintenance and providing endless enjoyment. Touch base with them on occasion, and it's as if you have never been apart. Start a conversation one year, pick it up the next--or even five years later--and you're right where you left off. They don't get older, slower, or less hardy. They do spread a little and lose a little color on top, but my, they are important! Sometimes you have to divide them--leave a little for you and share the rest with someone else, and this is great too! Maybe the sharee will look good in your garden as well! I'm so thankful Cathy shared me with LuAnn, our guest.
Second, to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend, and that requires listening. Not only to what is said, but to what is not said. I'm disgusting when it comes to listening. I'm soooooo clever, I don't want to miss the opportunity to share it with whomever is talking...and as such, I miss what they are saying, or worse, how they are saying it. I need to shut up, open up, and absorb. I KNOW I'm clever--I don't have to prove it! (Ego is an AMAZING thing, isn't it?) But my friends are awfully clever too, or...they probably wouldn't be my friends!
Finally, there is NOTHING as important as friendship. Sex is wonderful. Food is wonderful. Possessions are wonderful. But they all fade in time (even if science has developed that little blue pill...) A friend will tell you when your head is so far up your butt you can see your throat, and you thank them for it. A friend will support you when you are right--and stick by you when you are wrong. A friend will recognize that at times Preparation H could make you disappear, and they don't go buy a case! A friend will sustain the good things, not add inches to your waist, or fall into disrepair. A friend will allow you to love them and love you back.
I am the luckiest of all men. My best friend is the woman with whom I live. My perennial garden, if you will, is supportive and clever, and for the most part, well established (isn't that a lovely way to say old?) And they are beautiful, and resilient, and mine! And they, like you, are loved!