A long-time friend of mine recently confided a shattering confession. As she sat crumpled in despair on my loveseat, I asked why she hadn't called on me sooner for help. She shook her head and with trembling lips muttered "you were going through your own hell, I couldn't burden you with mine." It was right after I'd lost my dog and grief truly consumed me like a malarian fever. When I pressed on as to why she had not reached out to others, she admitted a lack of trust in some and not wanting to burden the rest with her self-induced troubles. A burden?! Isn't that what friends are for? To grab them by the collar, wildly look into their bewildered eyeballs and scream "Well, are you going to help me or WHAT?"
As my ever loving friends will laughingly confirm, I've got no problem SOS'ing them when I'm teetering at the edge of a dark precipice. I know better. I'm fully aware of my incompetence at talking myself rationally away from the ledge. The competing logical and emotional voices in my head are too busy arguing their opposing viewpoints and I've muted both of them to teach them a lesson. So, as I stand paralyzed with fear and mesmerized by the siren call of the cavernous unknown, I frantically dial my cellphone. And for extra fun, I'm uncooperative or combative with whichever poor soul was unlucky enough to answer, but they love me anyway, right??
Cultivating and maintaining friendships require an open heart, patience and perseverance. My friend matter of factly stated she's too old to make new friends (she's in her 40's). Which is utter nonsense, of course. Some of the richest, deepest friendships I've developed were in the last few years. But you do have to put yourself out there, reach out to new people and make the effort to connect. Just as a vegetable garden needs watering, tending and feeding, so do our human connections. Life would be one tasteless, dull British stew if it weren't for the rich, flavorful, bitter, sweet, sour and salty friends who spice it up.
To the five of you who read my nonsense, I'm posing this question: If you were a spice, what would you be? I'm definitely salt, for all the right and wrong reasons.