Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Having different kinds of friends — so very interesting.

I have a bounce-off-of friend. I bounce stuff off him to see what it looks like coming back toward me with his spin on it. It’s helpful, the curve my ideas take on the rebound.  Yesterday we spent an hour on the phone debating the growth curve of organizations. Fascinating.

I have a never-let-go friend. She is my stick-tight friend. We have waded through years and yards of stuff, and she is still there. I love the safety of such a friend.  This week we reflect on a relational train wreck we both witnessed and survived. I totally adore, her loyalty — to me.

I have a calls-when-he needs-help friend. I don’t mind. I like being the go-to-guy for him. I like how he trust that what I say, or that what I don’t say,  is good. It’s good for me to be there for him,  in the sacred moment, when the masks come off. This week he told me that when he drove away from the house, after the fight, it was as if he was moving through a dream. “I couldn’t believe that I was doing,” he told me, “what  I could see myself doing, leaving, like that.” It was good, to deconstruct the dream, that was really — reality.

I have a conceptual friend. When we meet, ideas meet. We talk insights, theories, axioms, intellectual constructs. We discourse on aesthetics, theology, history, sociality. Recently we explored the kind of creativity that can arise out of devastation. Our friendship exists within the universe of our ideations. I love an abstraction, that we invent and then that we event. It  becomes other people’s reality. Fine, so very fine!

The other day I thought about a friend who is not longer a friend. We went through something hard and this friend didn’t understand what was to be understood within the thin and quickly ripping fabric of possible understanding and so we went on down the road with the clothing that had previously covered us, ripped completely off, and I found myself traveling alone. It happens. I recovered myself with the warm embrace of new friends.

It’s very interesting, the variation of sociality.

It is very interesting, the morph, the seed, the stalk, the bloom, and the sometimes surprisingly quick wilt of togetherness, the amazing sustainability of real love.

What to do?

Enjoy, the sweet ones you have been  given.

Grieve, the once dear ones, occasionally lost.

Look forward to the precious ones still to come.

I have a lot of friends.  I have friends from school. I have friends from work. I have friends from church. I have friends in my family. I have friends in other countries. I have friends who are dead. I have friends who are not but pretend to be. I have friends who are fun, and I have some other friends who are friends because they aren’t fun. I have friends who I meet for a tête-à-tête at Starbucks, and I have friends who add me on Facebook.

By friends I mean a lot of different things, as we all do — people we got drunk with in high school but now have nothing in common with, a checker at Costco whose line we often choose, people who dabble in what we also waste time on, people who “get us” and leggo-people who used to get us but have now snapped off and don’t, furry friends — our cats and dogs, friends who we keep on call by the bedside — our favorite dead poets, painters, novelists or philosophers, and lastly and most importantly, our real friends, the cherished soul-mates who hang on through it all and just won’t let go, like Taylor in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, Pigs in Heaven, who won’t let go of little Turtle —  the mythic, profoundly archetypal lost child, “six pigs in heaven and the mother who wouldn’t let go.”  This is it, the core of it, the will-not-let-go friend.

I’ve told my daughters, trying to help them with the vagueness and occasional hurtfulness of the thing, “There are lots of kinds of friends, all kinds of levels and layers and lunacy. Enjoy them all.” It’s hard. Friendship is a garage that we throw a lot of different stuff in, and some of the stuff gets lost and some gets found again and then lost for good, but, “No,” found for good again.  Crazy!

Whatever the “How To” books tell us, friendship certainly isn’t something we can control — much. People will make their choices. They will do what they will do or not do, and what they don’t do will perhaps kick us in the head the most. Martin Luther King said it, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

King’s observation is clever, provocative, probably garnered in the civil-rights trenches and brutal, when it happens to you. Plain and simple: People — when things get messy — will shut up —  way too much! They won’t ask, and they won’t want you to tell.

Silence is the most eloquent monologue of indifference. Something happens. Silence.  More silence. Wow! It is singularly dysfunctional.

And then there are the friends who in the wars, switch sides and become the enemies. Funny how that works, “Et tu, Brute?”  Samuel Butler quipped that “Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.”

One feeds the chickens until one day — boom. Get out the crock pot, “I love my chicken falling off the bone.” And in a like manner, one man feeds the psyche of another man, until, one day, bam. “Strike three! You’re out!”

It happens. Life goes on. Time shows friendships, real and not. I’ll take the real, even with the not thrown in, the hurley burley of it all, the rough and tumble, the in and then out, it’s worth it. I love my friends. I love the people who love me. And the ones who no longer love me  make the ones who still do, seem sweeter yet.  

Someone once said, “A friend is someone who will help you move. A real friend is someone who will help you move a body.”

“Come on, help me hoist these cold, clammy bodies, buddy. Let’s move ‘em out.”

“Nice work! Hey, will you kick that foot sticking out of the closet back in so I can shut the door?”


“Thanks, friend.”