Ding. The familiar sound of a text message rang from my bedroom. I walked to the phone and read, “I have a meeting until 6, do you want to grab a bite?” I smiled. I had just thought about the fact that I hadn’t seen or heard from her in week, and whether I should ask what she was doing tonight. I texted back “when and where?” She shared what she was thinking and we met there at 7pm.
The last few months have been difficult for a few of us with elder care issues, work, and our own physical stuff! Super Bowl Sunday was the only time this year so far that I had seen my best friends, together. I had been lamenting to myself that I needed to make sure I didn’t isolate myself again. I was glad I hadn’t.
We met on the patio of a place in town that we both really like. It’s casual atmosphere and delicious food has become almost a favorite of hers. I, as usual, will eat anywhere! I ordered a vodka and she a glass of pinot noir and we settled in to catch up a bit.
The usual stuff came up, her care for her mom, my care for my parents and aunt. My leg, her health, work, blah blah blah. But then something switched. She started to talk about how she was feeling about somethings. It was surprising to me at first, not always where she wants to go and I respect that. As I have shared, everyone isn’t like me and goes deep into emotions. But this conversation did.
We probed eachother and at times even pushed eachother to dig into whatever we were saying. We talked about love and marriage, full acceptance as a person, caretaking both of ill parents and of others, and of ourselves. We were there for over 2 hours, without eating a huge meal. We had appetizers and drinks and talked.
I was sharing with her that we just had this large 2 day meeting with 300 leaders. One of the outcomes for me was to really think about my leadership mantra, what do I stand for as a leader. I quickly shared at the meeting that my mantra is to lead from the heart. The people who know me understood and agreed with that as something that guides me. In fact I probably do everything from the heart the more I think about it.
My girlfriend from teenage years shared that with me once a few years back when I was upset over an issue with a family member. Her comment was “anyone who knows you know that your intent is always pure, you do everything from the heart.” Perhaps I do. Perhaps that got lost for a period of time during the depths of my depression and self -loathing. But it is who I am.
I know longer make excuses for who I am, my emotions and the depth that I feel. I have a good friend who always tells me that those who don’t understand that or see it as negative, are probably not allowing themselves to feel anything. Perhaps.
And sometimes I even wonder if my closest friends appreciate the depth of my emotions, the way I can feel, the way I can sense things. In fact when I got home last night I started texting with another friend who I hadn’t seen in quite a while. I sent her a text about something earlier in the evening which started a texting conversation that lasted over an hour. We covered a lot of ground but much of it was focused on things she was feeling. She has gone through a lot over the last few months with parents’ health, 3 active kids, a car breaking down and blowing out a knee! In the end, her comment to me was that I must have a sixth sense as I always seem to reach out to her when she needs it most. There is an energetic connection I believe as she has done the same. She slipped a card under my door at work one day on a day that I was feeling so low, it was if God send it.
Both of these conversations and connections were incredible for me. Sometimes you need to reconnect at a level you forgot you could go to together. You probe each other a little to get at what is underneath, and help each other think about what is going on in your life. Sometimes you are surface. Perhaps it is what we are dealing with at the moment that forces to be surface because we can’t go deep and forces us to go deep because otherwise we can’t breathe.
At those times, when you cannot breathe, you need friends to be there as the flood gates open and the emotions pour out. And you remember at that moment why your friends are the best, and life isn’t as hard because you aren’t alone.
Friendships, the circle that allows you to be silly surface and deep pools of emotions and anything in between to be there for you.