“Hold a true friend with both hands.” – Rumi
Yesterday I had lunch with my dearest and oldest friend, Katie. We met when I was my daughter’s age – six and a half years old and she was seven. We went to grade school, junior high, high school and college together. We’ve lived together, dated the same guy (not at the same time), argued and most of all laughed. We’ve aged together, sometimes growing apart and then returning to be close again.
Sitting there talking with her, I realize there is so much comfort in effortless vulnerability. We don’t need to be anyone in particular because our shared context means we’ve seen it all. And more than anything, we’ve earned the right to hear each other’s stories because we’ve shown up for all these years.
When my friend calls these days, which isn’t very often because we mostly text, I always try to pick up. And whatever and whenever she asks something of me, which is also rare, I say “yes” to. Because we’ve gone on so long that I know she’s considered the impact on me as well as any other person can.
I think movies, specifically RomCom’s gave me the mistaken impression that friends like Katie come into our lives all the time. Life has told me that we are lucky if we get one or two in all of our years. She embodies the lovely description of an honest friend I recently read again in The Book of Awakening.
“Having an honest friend – one before whom you can dump all your heart’s pockets and still feel that you are worth something – is a form of wealth that will buy you nothing but will give you everything. And mysteriously and rightly, to find such a friend, we must be such a friend.”The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
Driving away from lunch I felt so light, even with stomach full of pasta. I realized that time with her is like time without my armor on – the armor of accomplishment or knowledge or experience or humor — whatever it is I use to protect against vulnerability. That, along with understanding, might be one of the best gifts of an honest friend.