Gems of Gratitude, Reflections

Today’s Gem of Gratitude #24

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Today I am thankful for friends. When I was younger, like most people, I used to call just about anyone with whom I spent time, enjoyed their company, and shared common interests “friends”. My circle of loved ones was substantially large, and as you can imagine being emotionally connected to so many people at times posed a challenge, though I am not complaining. As I have gotten older, however, I have come to realize that most of the people whom I encounter in life are not going to be “friends,” but rather “associates,” or one of many other labels. And that is okay with me.

One of my dictionaries (yes, I have more than one, but that is pretty typical for a writer) defines the word “friend” as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” That definition seems to be fairly accurate, but it does not quite capture the essence of what it means to truly be a friend in my opinion. I have found that being a friend constitutes more than that. Being a friend means that you are supportive of others whether or not it is convenient for you. Being a friend means that you encourage others when encouragement is needed, without being asked to do so, and even when you yourself may not feel all that encouraged. Being a friend means that you concern yourself with what is truly best for others, not what you think is best for them based on what you want or what you think would be best for you.

What functions as the litmus test for determining whether or not someone is a friend? Generally, the trials of life will reveal to you who your friends are. When you experience challenges such as heartbreak, loss of a loved one, or dismissal from a job, look around and take notice of who goes out of their way to check on you and find out whether or not you need anything, invites you to spend time with them in an effort to take your mind off of your circumstances, and offers their shoulder for moral support. Being a friend requires the investment of time, the extension of compassion and consideration, and the determination to be there when the other person needs it the most. The demonstration of true friendship is a rare blessing in this day and age. When friendship knocks at your door, I suggest that you open the door wide, welcome it inside, and make it feel so at home that it will never want to leave.

Now that I have given you a little insight into what being a friend means to me, I would love for you to share with me your views on what the word “friend” means to you, as well as what role friendship plays in your life. #lovebythedrop

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