So this Lenten season I decided to concentrate on the three ways I most identify myself outside of my work as a psychotherapist: writer, runner and seeker.
I have a mug my husband put in my Christmas Stocking. It’s red with one of those cartoon shaped thought bubbles you can write in with chalk. So, for Lent, I wrote, “40 Days” and every morning before I pour my coffee into my mug, I erase and re-write “40 Days.” I have 40 days on my journey of becoming a more prolific writer, a stronger runner and a better pray-er. So I have to pace myself.
Well, wouldn’t you know it that right after crossing the start line with Ash Wednesday, I stumbled - big time. I hurt a friend deeply with my words. You need to know something about me: my friends are held near and dear to my heart - they are my chosen family. Hurting one of them is not something I can shake off and recover from quickly.
For someone to become a friend, you have to build a relationship. This usually means spending time with each other, and through time, if you develop that friendship bond you have a chance to become a stronger person and you get a chance to share that strength with each other. I can honestly say, I would not be the person I am today without my truest friendships. I cannot imagine facing anything in life without them - the truly joyous or the truly difficult.
What does friendship mean? I have never written about it before. I have developed a couple of true friendships through running. And now, I am bringing my pain of a broken friendship to God and seeking a way through to healing for both of us. According to George Elliot "Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words." And sometimes there doesn’t even have to be words. I’ve spent countless hours in the presence of running friends marking the miles in silence. Still, there is a strength and comfort in that silence. Friendship probably is defined differently by each of us, given that it is a unique relationship between two people, often with layers that go deep and straight to our heart. What does friendship mean to you? What kind of friend do you strive to become?
I spent a weekend feeling weak and literally sick to my stomach agonizing over how to fix this friendship - hoping it could be fixed. I spent many hours seeking the guidance I needed through prayer and meditation. On Monday, when we could find the time between work and family obligations we talked and somehow came through the remorse to the other side - forgiveness and understanding. And for me, gratefulness.
During my Tuesday morning workout, I was able to feel strong and whole again. Take a moment this week to be still and be grateful for the friends you are blessed to have in your life. Then, take the time to let them know how significant a role they play in your health and happiness.