“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” ~ Jim Morrison
There’s a different kind of energy when doing anything with a friend – someone who might not enjoy what you do but, nonetheless, enjoys you. I have friends like that. Is there any other kind? I don’t think so.
Yesterday I stood on the porch of a new friend and heard my new friend describe me as her soulmate.
I laughed…and was touched.
Women are good for each other. What had happened for that relationship to blossom and grow in such a short time? As I reflected on the few hours we spent together yesterday and the weeks prior I saw a common thread: we just enjoyed each other’s company. I let her expose her true feelings about a past relationship that she was grieving, giving her permission to vent without judgement. I know she’s processing. She’ll heal. I believe that with all of my heart.
“You should be my therapist, Betsy.” Little did she know that hanging out with her was all the therapy I needed to brighten my day! We laughed as I refocused her as we packed her belongings and cleaned out her closets for her upcoming move. She joked about her ADD, which I promised her that she didn’t have, and then had to rethink that when she flitted from one room to the next, starting and never finishing little tasks when the next shiny object appeared. We worked with it and finally found a rythmn when I realized that she saw the big picture but couldn’t divide it into maneagable parts. I became her organized brain and she just made simple decisions – the ones that only she could make. Easy.
We were “done” (in many ways!) in four hours and had learned a lot about each other in a relatively short time. Mostly, there had been a quiet dance through painful and easy-to-criticize life experiences as they were shared. Isn’t that what friends do? Share? Take risks to be open and vulnerable, hoping to find freedom to be and to feel who we really are with no masks because we know that we’ve found someone with whom we can feel safe?
When I find that in a person, there’s automatic depth and possibility for growth – mine and ours.
On our ride back to my house we passed Chapoquoit Beach where I’ve done four of my five Polar Plunges. I told her about them and she, like every other friend I’ve shared it with, said, “I could never do that!” But, like every other friend I have, she said she just might come to share the experience with me.
Which reminded me of my best friend, Lisa, who has been with me on four of the five Plunges, and has only gone in once. We were childhood friends who shared a common friend for years – my sister. When my sister passed we reconnected again after many years on different paths. I’ve never met anyone who laughs so easily, shares her heart so deeply, and who loves me no matter what darkness I’m wading through.
This Polar Plunge was different. I’d never gone under before and I hadn’t taken so long to get wet either! I walked out deeper and deeper and gave a final wave to mortality, sure that I wouldn’t survive the plunge. My chest constricted and my heart slowed down despite the adrenalin rush.
I screamed. She laughed.
“Just do it, Bets!!”
We’d joked minutes earlier about how to get my dead body out of the water.
“I’m not going in to get your body, Bets! But I’ll call 911.”
Sharing the experience in our own ways… that’s what friends do.
I wake up every morning, happy to be alive, grateful for freedom to live life. I don’t mind doing things alone, but having friends to share the journey with makes it better, richer, happier…even on a bad, do nothing day.
“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island…to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” ~ Baltasar Gracian
May you find and cherish a friend who is that for you!