I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my coffee, all four kids just had breakfast. This is a rare calm morning this summer. This year we decided to put Anna and Noah in summer school. They basically go everyday from 7-12:30, they come home and play with friends or swim in the neighbor’s pool but they have to go to bed when the sun is shining.
This is so not okay with nine year old Anna who can hear her friends playing in the distance as she lays awake in bed with her arms crossed. She’s not as excited about summer school as her brother is. Noah, being the wise old man that he is, recognizes that he’s had a full day and that his body requires rest. He dutifully brushes his teeth and grabs his Sudoku and pencil and climbs into bed.
Anyway. The babysitter isn’t here and I’m not necessarily working today so it’s me with my babies and my millions of thoughts that are weighing on me.
I hope you don’t mind as a share a few of them.
I’ve recently been driven to think about what a good friend is. What are the qualities that matter most but most importantly, what can I do to be a good friend to anyone I love. (and when I say friend, I mean friend to anyone, a sibling, a parent, my neighbor, my spouse … and to my actual friends, old and new.)
When I was nineteen, during the years when gossiping is what we did because we didn’t know better, I can remember sharing my best friend’s secret with another person. There was no purpose to telling except that I could not wait to see the look on their face when I shared all of the juicy details. I’m just being honest. My best friend found out and we haven’t spoken since. I’ve never forgiven myself.
Once the reality of that lost friendship hit me, I realized I told her secret for me, for my own personal benefit. So, I learned early on that trust was not a joke. It wasn’t a word to be tossed around. When someone confides in me, I fold it up and place it in my pocket for when they are ready to talk again. It is their secret and I am holding it for them, it is never mine.
What is mine is how I can be a good friend knowing their secret. How are they struggling? How can I help?
I need a friend who I can trust. First and foremost. I learned that lesson a long time ago. I need a friend that I can just speak and not really have to think, not have to protect each and every word, one that I can have a cup of coffee with and just spill. She won’t take my words wrong, she’ll realize that my heart and my mind are processing and that tomorrow I may come to a totally different conclusion but that she was part of that process and she was part of that process because
she took the time to listen to me.
I need a friend who will listen. Who will sit, look me in the eye and receive the information. She won’t jump in with how what I’m saying reminds her of so-and-so at the splash pad the other day and what that person said. It will just be about me, at that moment. And in that moment or any moment after, she will not judge.
Because she loves me. And real love, as we all know, is unconditional.
And in return, when she sits me down and tells me what’s going on her life, when she shares the delicate details of what’s going on with her in her heart and her soul and with her family, I will take the time to listen, I will not judge and I will never, ever share the important, personal details of her life.
Because they are hers.
They are not mine.
And if I decide to share those details, I’ve made her life about me and that isn’t so, it’s not about me.
This doesn’t mean that I can’t be friends with people I can’t trust. It’s just that they won’t know me as well, I’ll shield some of my heart from them but they’ll never have to do that with me.
Ever. Because I will always listen, I will not judge and they can trust me. Completely.
This is what I’m focusing on today. How can I be better to the good people who matter to me. It’s making for a really great day.
Happy weekend, friends.