My office has a litter of kittens for adoption. They are the cutest, fuzziest little balls of fur you’ve ever seen. If it wouldn’t lead me on the fast track to “Crazy Cat Lady Land” I’d totally take one home. However, a single gal, living alone with three cats in an apartment just screams ALONE FOREVER. Therefore, I shall let them find good homes with other people. In doing so, I called a client of ours that I knew was looking for a new pet. She immediately came over to visit. She had recently lost a beloved pet named Meg, and knew that if she adopted another, they could look nothing alike. Out of the bunch she selected the one that was opposite in every way from her Meg. I carried the fuzzy, orange ball of fluff into an exam room so they could meet. Upon entering the room, the woman began to get weepy as she recalled the pet she had lost. “They become like oxygen in your environment, you know? Even when you’re not thinking about it, they’re there. Ever present.” I left the room, thinking not of the kitten, but of the people I call friends.
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with people I considered acquaintances, friends and best friends. Each one has been exactly as my client spoke of, like oxygen. Without questioning their presence, they were there. Friendships came as natural to me as breathing and I owe that completely to people I chose to befriend. It is only natural that it should take time to learn about a person, but in each of these people, I immediately saw myself. That was a miracle all its own as I had been desperately searching for who I was. This leads me to believe that we are led towards each other and into each others lives, thanks to some much needed divine intervention. I received countless emails in the past that say people are brought into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I couldn’t agree more. I could go down the list of people I have known through the years and each one has been a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold or merely a laugh waiting to burst forth. I am eternally grateful for each person as they have had a hand in shaping who I am, and where I am today.
I won’t go into each person individually as it would more than likely bore the rest of you to tears. In addition, I have told most of these people already, sometimes on a daily basis, just how much I love and appreciate them. However, there is one person who I have neglected to thank. Through the years, I have felt it easier to ignore the past and look towards the future when it came to you. Every time I ventured down Memory Lane, it seems I always took a wrong turn at Regret Road. It wasn’t that I ever regretted being your friend; it was that I regretted not being able to do more, to be stronger, and to be better. You say that I never gave up on you, but I felt that I had. I wanted so badly for you to be the person I knew you could be that I overlooked the person you were. In trying to help you be a better person, I saw the flaws in myself and was more angered than I could have ever imagined. I saw weakness when I thought I was strong. When I finally realized I was being silly, the time for apologies had passed. Your life was going in a different direction, as was mine, and I felt it easier to just let go. All the anger and hurt that was associated with you vanished within no time and the void was filled with wonder. I wondered if you were happy, if you were safe, if you were doing what you dreamed of doing. Five years have now passed and I continue to wonder. Things have changed a little this time around, however. When I wonder, I can simply “log on” and ask you, “Are you happy? Are you safe? Are your dreams coming true?” Since the day we reconnected, all these years later, I have done a lot of thinking. I can’t articulate how wonderful it is to know the answers to these questions I have been bearing. It delights me to know that you are smiling behind the words you are typing. It creates within me a sense of peace I didn’t know I needed. Although, this newfound peace wasn’t without its own set of questions. Why, after all this time, have we found each other once again? Is there a reason that we have no anger between us? No contempt? No regrets? Yes. There is a reason. And I believe that reason is to shed light into a dark place within each other that shows us we have grown. We have come a long way from the days of awkwardness, teenage angst and juvenile fears. We have made it valiantly into the hands of adulthood where we can look forward without fear of what we once were. To you, I thank you for showing me that I really have come a long way. Thank you for loving the person I was and for being interested in the person I am now. I am glad, despite all things, that you were a part of my life. That chapter has ended, long ago, but life has an interesting way of doing flashbacks.
To this person, I believe you know who you are. If you’re reading this and wondering, “Is she talking about me?” chances are I am. Friendship is a valuable, valuable gift that I believe is just like the woman said. We breathe each other in, we help each other grow, we create a world of constant comfort that can only be built by a friend. Friends are oxygen.