Choosing Friends

 We needed friends who were strong and flexible enough to meet us right where we stood, not longing for another time that was no longer possible.

Isn’t life a constant revision of our friends?

Who we trust to stand with us in times of joy and times of trouble changes, as our lives move. Some people hold tightly to childhood friendships and for others those relationships lose strength as they grow up.

When my kids were young, we became very close friends with many of the parents of their friends. We organized our lives around our children’s social and school worlds and functioned as a team with these parents, for many years. We spent more time with them than any other friends until all the kids grew up and we looked at each other with new eyes, wondering if there was anything left that we had in common?

When I was pregnant I became attached to my midwives. I knew I was such a lucky woman to have these amazing, intelligent, kind, competent women to guide me during pregnancy, labor and birth. For almost a year they were two of my closest friends and available to me any time of day or night. A few weeks after my son was born, they moved on and I was heartbroken. Of course they had left me with my child, whose joy overshadowed everything else forevermore; nonetheless, I had to come to terms with the fact that my new friends were only interested in me if I was pregnant. It was a shock, but I got over it.

When Andy got Parkinson’s Disease, a number of people in our lives jumped ship.

One long time friend told me privately, “I can’t stand being with Andy because of his constant shaking.”

The survive and thrive strategy we learned living with Andy’s Parkinson’s, was to hold lightly to the friendships from before his diagnosis. This way, instead of feeling abandoned or betrayed, we recognized we needed friends who were willing and able to be present with the reality of our lives. We needed friends who were strong and flexible enough to meet us right where we stood, not longing for another time that was no longer possible.

As some friends withdrew, new friends showed up.

 By understanding this process we saved ourselves unnecessary pain, especially when disease came into our life.

Do your friends reflect the reality of your life?

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