Yesterday, our family had a great day, with great new friends. While we have several great friends in our life, and have had gorgeous, memorable days with each one, the timing and setting of this particular day was particularly striking.
This is what a great day looks like: Taking in the beauty of a 200-acre property; taking an hour-long walk somewhere, and yet, to nowhere in particular; sharing a gorgeous meal in a gorgeous home, where there is no sense of formality or awkwardness; listening to a friend strum on a guitar and sing a beautiful song that he wrote (inserting within it your child’s name ever-so-casually); opening up tunes on YouTube and singing together at the top of our lungs; easily floating from one conversation topic to another, without unfamiliarity or hesitation about how the other party would receive it; and watching all your children play together beautifully, as if they’ve known each other forever. And a great day is when you can easily spend more than eight hours with people, and never have your mind wander to something else (What should I be accomplishing now instead of sitting here? I’m worried about the mortgage and the tax payments. I’m really worried about the election next week.). When you’re not worrying about whether they’re bored with you yet, and not feeling once that you’re bored—how great is that?
I used to think that those old sayings, “Everything happens for a reason” and “When one door closes, another one opens” were so hackneyed and corny. But now, I do believe that indeed, those are among the truest words in life. You see, after a rather acrimonious friendship break-up recently, our family suddenly found ourselves in the midst of the blossoming of a couple of great friendships. Funnily enough, these were people whom we’ve known for a few months, but it didn’t take until just now, literally within the space of two weeks, for everything to just fall into place. So I do believe now, that yes, everything does happen for a reason. We needed the timing of one friendship shutting down to have our eyes opened, in order to see why that was never a true friendship, and to see what is authentic.
True friends are the type of people with whom you find that you have so much in common, but neither party has to gush about it; the type of people with whom an easy, natural rapport just falls into place, and the conversations are light and bantering without effort; the type of people who never make you think afterwards, when you’re alone with your spouse or alone with your own thoughts, “I hope I did okay. Hope they liked me.” These are the people of whom, when you spend time with them, your only thought is, “I hate to think of leaving.” We don’t have many of these, but the ones that we do have, we have in different parts of our life, and we see them in different roles. And we hope to hold on to them for a long time.
I’m not naïve enough to think that these things will remain unchanged. Familiar with the ephemerality of friendships and good times, I know that friends can move away, and circumstances can change. But for the moment, I’m quietly content, knowing what it feels like to spend a great day, with great friends.