Friday, May 20, 2011

Friendships lost and found

I had a strange dream last night. I was in conversation via teleconference with an old friend and a young person I didn't recognize. The three of us were in different locations discussing some deeply technological and philosophical book. The dream made me sad because my friend and I had a falling out some time ago and I doubt we'll talk together like that anytime soon - although I suppose one never knows for sure. 

Friendships have a way of waxing and waning - and often in unpredictable ways. My very best friend and I wandered away from one another for a while - which was both unexpected and very painful at the time.  Fortunately, we eventually found our way back and seven or eight years later I can honestly say we've never been closer. For my part, I hope we never lose touch with one another again. After more than thirty years, there's no one who knows me better, who keeps more of my secrets or whose insights and advice I trust more when life throws me a curveball I'm not sure I can handle, and I believe she feels the same way about me.

Unfortunately, I've lost more than one old friendship over the years.  My dearest childhood friend and I drifted apart a decade or more ago when our lives took us in quite different directions.  Through the magic of social networking, I'm now in touch with her husband and her sister, but have yet to connect with her directly - though I hope I will one day.

One of the delightful things about Facebook and other social media is that it can facilitate those kinds of reconnections. Since I joined Facebook a few years ago, I've renewed friendships with many people I never expected to see or talk with again. I've also become "friends" with people from my past I didn't know well back then but have enjoyed getting to know better through their posts.

Of course, at the end of the day, "it takes two to tango". If, for whatever reason, a friendship has faltered or faded, it can only be revived if that's what both people want - which isn't always the case.  There are one or two people who've hurt me badly enough that I can't imagine ever wanting them back in my life. Though I've done my best to forgive them, the trust that underlies all good friendships would be hard to rebuild.

In any case, I'm fortunate to have more than my fair share of friends - which was brought home to me this winter as I struggled with making the transition to a new job and a new home. The dearest amongst them truly went "above and beyond" to listen patiently and offer love, advice and support when I needed it most. And other friends - whom I value greatly though we are not as close - provided doses of companionship and laughter when winter's dark dreariness threatened to overwhelm my sense of optimism and hope.

So here's to friendships lost and found - and to friendships lost and yet to be found. Whatever life brings, I'm grateful to have my memories of them.

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