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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Friends - Pulling out the fire hose


 This story was originally posted on: May 19, 2008 (Raisin Toast Homepage)

I've been awake off and on all night thinking about friendship.  I just had a somewhat major fall out with a "friend" and began analyzing just how good of "friends" we really are.  I've only known L for about a year, but we have been great friends - able to talk about anything, able to share anything, and able to talk to each other about those uncomfortable issues without feeling "judged."  That's a true friend.  We did have one disagreement early on in the friendship about L's husband's ex-wife.  A silly disagreement if you ask me, but a disagreement nonetheless.  We apologized and that was the end of that - next chapter begun. 

Soon after, L began what was to be a horrible divorce that has impacted her children, her life, her career, her friendships, everything.   I sludged thru the mud with her, helped her move, was there thru the tears, the fights with her children, the fights with lawyers, the fights with other so-called friends, the fights with her soon-to-be-ex, and her disagreements with her previous ex.  Put it this way, when it comes to friendship, I'm a pig.  I'll get in the same mud pen with any of my friends and play in the sludge, the mud, and eat the bugs - Friends2 but I'll tell you when you are dirty and when the dirt doesn't suit you and if necessary I'll pull out the fire hose to wash you off.  I'll speak my mind.  Funny thing is, I have discovered that my "true friends" have always been those that do the same in return.  They tell me off when I need it.  They give me a good kick in the butt  when I'm playing in the wrong pen, and they'll pull out the fire hose when necessary even if it stings.  They KNOW that no matter what is said - hurtful, constructive, cranky or not, that we will wake up the next day as "friends."  "Next chapter" I call it - even stronger than the previous.

I had this argument with L over her ex-husband who is a doctor (not that that means a whole heck-of-a-lot as he is only human), and who is also our neighbor. He is suffering - I mean really suffering - over this divorce, as is L, and he comes over to talk now and then.  L knows this.  Bottom line is this, L is my friend, and her soon-to-be-ex-husband needs one.  I care about people, that is my nature.  I care when I see people genuinely hurting and I will try to help if I can.  I am also one wise enough to know that you can't always believe everything someone (even a friend) tells you.  It is their perception, maybe, and very true to that friend, but that doesn't mean that that is the whole story.  I do believe something very close to the heart that my father once told me as a child "If something is important to you, check it out.  If I or anyone says anything to you that is important to you, check it out. Review the facts.  If you find out I'm full of crap and don't know what I'm talking about, then you better let me know fast so I don't continue to make a fool of myself, Deal? - Deal." I never forgot that and actually took that conversation quite seriously, along with "Don't be a judge of friendship - be a friend. A good friend is one who will kick you in the butt when you need one." 

Friends3 I've been enormously blessed, and I've been thru a lot of crap in my own life.  My friends have trudged through it all with me time and time again, and we always manage to come clean in the end.  I've had a few who have had to pull out the fire hose, but the sting was ultimately worth it.  I love you all and appreciate more than you know your honesty and your trudging.  You are as close (if not closer) than family to my heart and in my life.  They (whoever "they" is) say that a person is lucky if they can go through their life with one close friend.  All I know is that I am dang lucky and blessed beyond comprehension because although some of my friends have disappeared from the radar for a time due to life, moving away, or moving on, that radar hasn't dropped for long because we have always been in each other's lives.  We have always known how to find one another. We've always been there.  In that case, I have a number of "friends" and I am not talking about the "fair-weather friends" either. 

Fair-weather friends. You know the type.  The ones who will be there as long as the garden is well kept and the sky is blue.  The second clouds roll in, they haul-tail it out so they don't get wet.  Then they show up again when the weather clears.  Sorry, anyone out there who thinks this is friendship better wise up.  That is just plain ridiculous - and that goes for family members too!!!!

 As you can probably tell, I take friendship very (and I mean VERY) seriously.  And I test it now and then.  With L I tested it last night and we'll see how we fare soon enough.  For those of my "friends" who are reading this I  want to clarify something......I love you more than you know.  I'd do anything for you (within reason of course, and you wouldn't ask me to do anything unreasonable anyway - like rob a bank or punch someone in the mouth for you).  Although I might be tempted, but never act on, the need to punch someone in the mouth for you.  I love you.  Bunches.  You have all changed my life profoundly, including  L. You - L, are the extra block in my quilt of friends that help me to sleep calmer at night and keep me up when it is important to me - like now. 

I hope you will listen - and I mean really listen, L.  If you weren't important to me, I would have given up on this friendship a long time ago.  I don't need this garbage in my life.  Get over it.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Live and learn from it.  I said my peace and yes, I meant every word.  If it bothers you that much, then take a minute and reflect on it.  If you are still so pissed that we can't even talk about it, then we were never really "friends."  I, on the other hand, believe that we are.  So, if you need me, I am here.  I will always be here.  Because I count you among my dear, very dear, FRIENDS

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