I recently thought I’d lost a friend. Not due to distance, change of circumstance, lack of interest or any sort of falling out – but in one of the worst kind of ways.
I’ve previously mentioned him with humorous anecdotes of past encounters but until these past few weeks, I had no idea how much our friendship had grown, how much his presence in my life meant to me. It took the possibility of losing him for me to recognize this.
When I finally had the opportunity to speak with him again, he gave me that huge, disarming smile of his. I returned it with my own instantaneous, heartfelt one.
“I was worried,” I admitted.
“So was I,” he replied, grinning.
He’d made it through a frightening medical crisis. He will never be fine – but he is okay. He is still with us.
When others joined our conversation, I stood back and observed him talking and laughing and was suddenly struck by two thoughts – I love him and he is precious to me. Not love in the romantic sense but in the sense of truly caring for a genuine, compassionate person. Someone who – for whatever reason – finds me delightful, enjoys my company and lets me know that.
I had been taking all this for granted for a very long time. And one should never, ever take such a friendship for granted. They are rare.
What have I been doing with my feelings these past few years? Keeping them bottled up in an attempt to protect myself? Content to live in the realm of fantasy? Are there others who have become part of my life I take for granted? I hope not. It shouldn’t take such a scare for me to appreciate such blessings.
I’ll now be keeping my eyes and my heart open – although still with some degree of caution. Some barriers need a little more time for dismantling.