Being Friends, Choosing Friends
When I was a girl, living in Chicago, my friends were not chosen. They were incidental to my elementary school life. I may have become “friends” by being a “talking acquaintance” in gym, during morning recess, or in holding hands in rows of two as we were ushered through the hallways by our teacher. I tended to adore my friends, thinking them better off than I, or living in better homes with calmer conditions. I could be easily lead to small shop lifting or mischievous class-clown pranks or lead to spend my lunch money on sweets just to be a part of the crowd. If I lost favor with a friend, I would chase behind that one until I made it right on any terms. I did not value myself above what they thought of me. I just wanted to be included in our circle of separation from other groups of kids. That pattern lasted a while.
In high school I made friends on the basis of seating in the classroom, also of like interests in chosen courses and with those who were “the smart ones.” I could always get help with homework this way, and be thought of as a smart one, too by the company I kept. It never occurred to me that I was really of the same ilk as those I associated with. I followed trends with my school mates but I didn’t follow the wrong crowd and get in trouble. An improvement over elementary school. I struck out on my own occasionally,too!
In college, I made friends based on the roommate(s) I was assigned, and the study or lab partner my teachers paired me with. I joined a sorority. I also made friends in my areas of interest writing club, broadcast, track, and teaching. Some friends came at parties, some at civil right’s meetings. I learned civil disobedience at the level of pot smoking and non-passive resistance. I learned sex was a responsible passport to adulthood and a membership card among the coeds. I realized my individuality and difference in a heterosexual reality governed by gender role behavior. Friendships came under fire. Hard balance. Kept a few.
In graduate years of schooling, my friends came from course seminars and parties and a few scholars who liked my writing and points of view. They were the audience for my performances, and I was the ears for their paper presentations. These friendships born of idealism were rich and inspiring.But many evolved onward with the good memory of drinking or eating together, taking tests,and teaching or being taught together.
In later life, as I moved from city to city, employment to employment, my friends grew out of mutuality and proximity, as well as conjoined life experience as workers, or women, or lesbians, or political animals.Some of us stood at each others weddings or were present at the birth of a child. Some of us referred one another to our next job, or attended the funeral of other friends together. We visited; we share our achievements. Many of these friends are still in my life. Many allow me to still be in theirs.Some write recommendations on LinkedIn, some show up on Classmates.com or some drop me emails through Facebook, and some I phone chat with or write by post. Some are lynch pins in my maturity and development as a person.
They are friends because we are in touch and occasionally support each others’ lives financially or emotionally. some of us live far apart. Most of us are not the same people we were at the start of our friendships, but the bond is binding not defining. We remember who we have been and applaud each other as we evolve. Friends can be divided into categories of intimacy and activity,but no matter the degree of intimacy or the nature of activity as old friends(continuing friends),we value friendship because the entire history of friend making has taught us the progressive value of the instinct to befriend.
Special shout out to: Ida, Gwen, Theal, Daisy,Trilby, Elani, Ann S., Ann M., Marquita, Diana H., Three-J, Teresa, Jackie, Rosa Mendoca, Chris G., Al P. and Joe C.
Here’s your Daily Word
The love of God is expressed through my friends.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
One way the love of God expresses is through friendship. I feel valued and valuable as I connect with my friends. They deepen my experience of life, and our camaraderie is mutually supportive.
With encouraging words and supportive actions, we lift one another’s spirits. We share times of joy and adversity, growing together in friendship. We accept each other as we are and hold faith in positive outcomes for one another. We share a love that has no opposition, only respect, kindness, and a sense of ease.
As I encourage, reassure, or console a friend, I am expressing Divine Love and that love is expressed back to me.
All of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.—1 Peter 3:8