Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mate Tectonics and the Friendship Cycle

Having just attended my 30th high school reunion, I've been reminiscing on the many friends I've had over the years.  Friendships take many forms: old high school buddies, fresh hiking companions, amenable exes, non-amenable family members...the list goes on and on.  And each friendship falls uniquely on a wide spectrum of closeness, from someone whose post deserves a like on Facebook to those you catch up with over a relaxing drink to those with whom you share your deepest thoughts and aspirations.

Caution!!  Subduction Zone Ahead!
For every friend that touches our lives, there are three (or thirty) that have faded into the background over the years. Some move on gracefully as lives and careers change, while others vanish unexpectedly and fester quietly in our online social networks. Of course, in the end, physical death defeats even the most strongly forged friendship.

Like gardens, galaxies and goatees, the cycles of friendships are dynamic, ephemeral phenomena. Sometimes we can guide them toward great heights and sometimes external circumstances drive them into the ground.   And some go in and out of style in mysterious patterns that defy logic..

What can a person, ostensibly with free will, do to cope?

Cherishing the friends we have in our general vicinity while able is the obvious option.  If the other party has little interest though, we can but wade through the hurt with tight-lipped dignity until we forget or pretend to forget the closeness once shared.  In the case of death, we can carry forward their legacy with a smile, knowing we loved them as best we could while they were still living. Perhaps, we can even rebuild friendships which have fallen into disrepair by reconnecting with a heart and mind that have healed over time.

The geology of the Earth plods forward, mindlessly transforming the planet over eons to great effect. A human lifetime in comparison is short, nevertheless, with mindful, kind intent we can patiently transform the connections in our social world for the better.

Challenge of the week: keep the friendship cycle active by writing a letter in good old fashioned cursive ink to a few friends, old or new.  The landscape of your friendships just might go volcanic!

4 comments:

  1. Friendships are like magnets. We know that, at their most efficient, there is a strong pull, and a lot of good can come from that. We just don't prepare ourselves for the flip side.

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    1. I agree we don't prepare enough for friendship magnetic pole shifts...which geologically can lead to cataclysm. Relationship training and real world experience can help us prepare, be mature in the moment and generally be better people in the long run, methinks.

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  2. I am good at letting friends go b/c I'm too caught up in myself. Glad to be reminded to cherish them.

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    1. Finding the right balance of cherishing oneself while cherishing others and the rest of the world can often be a challenge but it is also a rich pursuit!

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