Cheers to Best Friends

What I love about friendship is that it offers variety. There are the friends who are full of wisdom and give great advice, and then there are the attentive listeners who know when advice is not really what's wanted or needed. There are the partiers who always know how to have a good time, drawing you out of your comfort zone, and then there are the friends who don't need to be entertained and for whom your company will always be enough. There are the friends who challenge you, living ambitiously and inspiring through good example, and then there are the troubled ones, down on their luck, but who willingly accept your help and guidance, giving you a sense of value and worth.

I remember struggling as a child with girlfriends who were envious of others' friendships. It's a natural human tendency to want to connect and fit in - oh, to be popular! But I believe, to some extent, what set me apart was the realization that I didn't have to be best friends with all of my pals, and if one of them had another close friend, it wasn't a threat or something to be taken personally. Instead I understood that each person had something particular to offer, and like them, I couldn't be everything, I could only be myself. I was a good listener, but not necessarily a great conversationalist; creative, but not athletic; sometimes a leader, but mainly a follower; not picky, selective or judgmental, but on the other hand, not courageous or decisive. And that was okay. I exhibited particular traits and like a puzzle, my friends presented the corresponding pieces. None of them had to be everything, but each of them offered something unique.

Last weekend, my best friend from all the way back to the sixth grade, came to visit. We call each other "best friends" because our friendship has lasted the test of time. Knowing someone that long allows you to know one another in a way that not many others do. You know each other's parents and siblings and the house they grew up in. You know their background and therefore you understand the basis of their faults, weaknesses, strengths and aspirations.

(Trip to the OKC Omniplex, eighth grade)

Jennie and I are sort of like sisters. We've realized over the years how different we are from one another and we recognize that we both have other friends who can meet the needs that we can not fulfill for one another. However, we can share our deepest regrets without fear of rejection, and we can offer the truth even when it hurts, because we know it comes from a place of deep compassion and honest friendship.

(Ski Trip, 2001)

When Jennie came to visit, she was training for a half marathon which she'll run the weekend before I run my 10k. All my life she has been an example of determination. While I was doing my intervals of 90 second run, 2 minute walk, she ran 5 miles! But the important thing was that she motivated me to get out there and do it despite the cold weather and snow!

Clothes shopping was also on our list of things accomplished. Jennie served as my personal Stacy and Clinton. She joked that anyone who found out she was giving me fashion advice would laugh. But I was tired of wearing mommy clothes on date night. So when it came down to it, I really needed her to push me out of my rut and add some spice to my wardrobe.

And finally, Jennie talked to me about "Doing". Stop over thinking, stop procrastinating, stop adding to the list of things required to finish a project. Just plow through, finish, and feel the glory of a lightened load (ie, one more craft project completed!)

Thank you, Jennie, for offering three of the puzzle pieces I've been missing for a while. Thank you for seeing me for who I am and, better yet, for seeing me for the best I can be.

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