(copied from a Facebook post I wrote on 31st December 2013)
On each of the last three days I have met up with friends: an evening out and two lunch dates. These few hours have been a wonderful chance to catch up with some that I see regularly, some that I see a few times a year and one who I haven’t seen in person for absolutely ages (yes, years!). Yet there was no awkward moments or ‘So what have you been up to?’ needed; this got me thinking about friendship and its role in our lives. And, you know me, I love a good extended metaphor…There is probably nothing here that you haven’t heard, or read, before but I am compelled to write it.
Friendships are the sea in our lives: they ebb and flow, but are always there. Some are exhilarating and drench you with their force. Some are gentle, allowing you to hear the noise of the pebbles shifting beneath your feet. Like the sea, these friendships often carry their flotsam and jetsam with them: work, partners, children. Sometimes we see beauty in the driftwood, sometimes we bemoan other people’s detritus ruining the seascape. But we know that the sea will continue, even after these things have gone.
There are times in our lives when we just want to be ‘beside the sea’. I don’t mean lying on a crowded beach smothered in sun lotion, but a place where it is just us, and maybe a loved one, and the sea. If you are fortunate to live near the coast, you know what I mean: the way time disappears whilst watching the waves, tasting the salt on your lips, maybe even daring to play within the breaking surf. There is a sense of something bigger, more powerful than oneself – or maybe that we are part of a much bigger picture than our own lives? Sometimes the sea is the best way to experience the power of the seasons: the storms, the wind, the sun.
This is the same with friendships. We have moments of needing to be with those who are constant, who know us and allow us to be ourselves. They give us a sense of belonging: a sense that we contribute to something bigger than the occasional mundanity of our own existence. There is reassurance from the familiarity and rhythm they bring. Sometimes these friendships reflect, even magnify, the weather and seasons of our lives. They help us to deal with the things we can not change or have no control over.
At this point in my life, some friendships are ebbing, some are flowing; but that’s OK. Maybe I can’t plot exactly when the tide will turn, but I know the signs to look out for. Part of getting older is knowing that you can’t change the tide, so it’s better to embrace it. Those friendships will flow again.
I’m not tagging any of my friends in this post but I trust that they know who they are and how important they are to me, even if we are currently ebbing.