I have this thing about friends. I listen to them. I realize that should seem pretty obvious, but I’ve known of people who brush off their friend’s concerns, or in the worst case cut off the friendship when they aren’t hearing what they like. I don’t do that. Part of the commitment that goes with acknowledging someone as a best friend is allowing them to deeply impact me, both positively and negatively, with their words. Calling them a close friend grants them a license to pull the red emergency-halt button for the assembly line of my mind.
So when a close friend has concerns about something I’m doing, I can’t just shrug it off. Even if I could predict their concerns, know that we disagree, and have my answers already worked out, I still have to go through a period of soul-searching when they speak their mind. It’s a required by my respect for them, and my respect for myself in having granted them close friend status. It’s a reality check against unbounded hubris.
But it can be very harsh, because sometimes it means I have to be conflicted about things I would much prefer to be joyous and at peace over. It means walking back over already covered ground, wondering if I made a misstep. It means questioning my judgement, and fearing what it means for our relationship if I decide I was right all along.
And that’s where I’m at this morning.
The sad part is, I fear that my friend simply cannot see that the facets of me that we both miss are finding their fullest expression in the very aspects of my life which are in question. Sometimes the memories we have of someone are the best part of them remaining; but sometimes the memories were merely a glimpse of what that person was to become. I am more fully myself than ever before. The ice is thawing. I wish all of my friends could be happy for me. But I understand, all the same.