This year has taught me a lot about friendships. I think it is when you are at your worst and feeling your least valuable to the world that you discover the mettle of your friends. When you begin to doubt yourself, who is there to support you? Some people are there just to watch the drama; others to sway you to their way of thinking. A real friend will challenge you, but they will never try to convince you to do something that goes against your own conscience or beliefs. That is not caring, or respect, that is manipulation. As one of my friends told me, "I can and will give you advice ANY time you need it. But you still have to make the decision that is right for Toni. As your friend I'll back that decision all the way."
I love the people that I can truly call my friends. Sure, we may be busy and not talk often, or not see each other for years, but I know that I can count on each of them to be there if I need them. For me, friendship is so much more than someone to talk to. It's a fierce loyalty, a chain of trust, a vulnerability that says, "In a fight, I would stand back to back with you, knowing you will watch out for me & not stab me with betrayal."
Tonight we watched It's A Wonderful Life. It has so much to show about our influence in each other's lives, how one person's sacrifice can do a world of good, and what it means to have family (even if you live in a 'drafty old house'). Most of all, though, it is a lesson about what it means to have friends... friends who will be there when you're at the bottom to lift you up & dust you off.
Remember no man is a failure who has friends. ~ Clarence