I was at a good friend’s the other night for dinner. It was a small intimate group and because it was the beginning of the new year for Jews, she wanted to add a touch of spiritualism. She’s always been good at thinking of some special ritual to pull everyone together. We sat at a table of bounty, filled with color and different tastes and textures and one by one, we went around the table,each person reflecting on the season and what it meant to us.
She read 2 poems. I said fall was the season of harvest and a time to hold onto the best of summer. It is the beginning of an insular period for me. Winter is close by and that is a time of introspection. I write some of my best stuff then, because more happens indoors than out. Living in the northeast, who wants to be out in the cold ? So the topic seemed to take on a life of its own. The theme leaned towards nature and how it tends to bring us into the present, an ongoing challenge for most of us.
I stayed an extra 10 minutes after everyone had left. We began talking about a problem she had with a friend of hers. I listened, as she gave me a synopsis of the conversation that had taken place. I realized that my friend, who was telling me the situation about her friend, was similar to an experience I had with her last year. Basically, she had said the same thing to me that her friend said to her. I ended up identifying more with the friend she had problems with, than her at that moment. I had felt the same feelings her friend did.
And then it dawned on me that somehow we work things out. We move through the discomfort or misunderstanding and go on. We all come with our stuff and sometimes we tend to recreate the very thing that pushes our buttons. It’s a dance. So, we go round and round in friendships. Some stick for a long time, some stay for a growing space or to share a particular transition in our life. Some last forever. But whatever the length of time, it all comes down to showing up. For yourself and them. Being present.
I’ve had issues with some friends and they with me. Sometimes my feelings get hurt and sometimes theirs do. We try to remain open and communicative. It’s slowing down enough for understanding. It’s about acceptance and acknowledging that we come with childhood wounds. As we go through life, we either choose layers of protection or forgiveness, to cover them.
It takes a long time to really know a person. It also takes a long time to become whole yourself. Most of what I have learned in life is that it takes a lot of forgiving to move through it and be happy. Forgiveness, love and compassion are always the key. At least to me, because I don’t know one person living that has yet to arrive.