Thursday, January 14, 2010
World's Greatest Friends
I just got back from having lunch with a friend. Despite our differences, we know, like and trust each other. I am encouraged by simply being with Angie. She knows my weaknesses and lends support for me in those areas at precisely the right moment. She can look beyond herself and into the lives of others, exemplifying selflessness. Our friendship is still young, and there is still so much to learn about one another. Yet even in its early stages, its authenticity is evident. After lunch today, I was again reminded of the beauty of having such people in my life.
Society values the number of friends one acquires in his lifetime. By modern practices, that number is determined by the amount of people stored in your cell phone, listed in your email account, or plastered next to your name on a social networking site as if to advertise your popularity.
But because of my experience with people who truly care about me, I cannot help but deem these feeble attempts at friendship as utterly shallow. Earning “Friend” status on Facebook or meeting someone at a bar and storing their number in your phone does not meet the criteria for a friendship. That is not to say that there is no place for acquaintances. I do believe they serve a purpose of their own. But their worth doesn’t compare to that of a real friend.
I hold some rather high standards for myself. While I don’t hold my friends to those standards, I do expect that they would try to hold me to them. I’ve had “friends” and dated guys in the past who have absolutely no respect for the decisions I’ve made for myself. Rather their motives are entirely selfish, often encouraging me down the path I least desire to tread. It’s no wonder I have faced bitter times of loneliness, as I have depended on relationships that were void of real worth. I want to grow as a person, and I also want that for my loved ones. But these types of relationships will never help me achieve that.
Honesty is a virtue, the number one quality I value in a person or in a relationship. Sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves for what we really are. We need another view from the outside—an honest view—to help us understand ourselves. Angie, in all honesty today, shared with me that I am too critical of myself. She explained that, while I withhold placing judgment on others, I am entirely judgmental of myself. It’s a breath of fresh air for somebody to engage with you instead of offering a smile and nod in conversation prior to turning the subject to something more superficial and comfortable.
It’s been almost a week since I have decided not to drink alcohol and I feel really good about that decision. Last night, Cara and I went to Toledo’s for our semi-regular Margaritas and Botana Toledo’s Nachos. When I got there, I explained my no-alcohol-commitment to her, secretly hoping she would talk me into ordering one. I guess I thought if she did, my “breaking the rules” would have been justified. However, being the good friend that she is, she refrained, leaving me to decide without her input. I ended up having water. And today, at lunch, as I drooled over Angie’s beer, she didn’t say, “Just one,” or “start again next week,” like so many friends would have done in the past. These friends have showed their support of me and my decision. It is clear that they want the best for me. I am blessed to have these friends, and more, in my life. I don’t know what I would do without them!