I’ve never been one to have an ‘inner circle’ of friends, quite the contrary actually. I can’t even say I have a best friend, not since high school. Until recently, my friendship situation seemed completely normal to me. It hasn’t come up as a topic worthy of a good pondering, so instead, I just went with it. Looking back, I guess I was so nonchalant in this area because making friends has always been an easy feat.
So why the sudden change? True to my travel journals, it appears my new found comprehension of friendship is attributed to my time away from home. When you’ve been taken out of the equation, with 8,000 miles to separate you from your loved ones, you start thinking about things that otherwise seemed natural and didn’t demand attentiveness. Well things have changed. As it turns out, my approach to friendship is quite unorthodox. What I’ve learned about myself is that over the years, I have conjured a simple formula for friendship; it might seem unfeeling and drastic to some, but I can think of no clearer way to present it:
I collect brother and sister figures. Between all of my friends (facebook, instagram… and life too), the ones whom I love are subconsciously deemed ‘sister’ and ‘brother’. Everyone else is an acquaintance.
When I say ‘acquaintance’, it is without a negative connotation. These are the people who enter seasons of my life. They may be around for long or short periods of time. They may enhance my life immensely. They may be good conversationalists. They may be fellow foodies or co-workers, wise souls or amusing individuals. Whatever they may be, it is certain that they are part of my story.
Whereas the brothers and sisters whom I collect aren’t part of my story, they help me write it. This adventure down under has shed great light on this ‘formula’ if you will, which can’t be more true where my life is concerned. I am blessed beyond belief that I’ve had such a diverse range of people cross paths with me in this lifetime. To my brothers and sisters reading, you know who you are: you are everything you ought to be to me. Khalil Gibran summed it up completely in The Prophet,
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unclaimed. When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain. And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
I am grateful for the distance, and for this new found truth in my life. Whatever your interpretation may be, mine remains harmonious, and fitting.