Friendship is much like flowers in the garden. We nurture those and look forward to the beauty that we hope will eventually show.
Some never bloom. Some bloom only for a short while and others stay for long periods of time. We try to pull away the weeds that grow at the base to help the flowers be healthy and have space to expand. We water to nourish and fortify. We break away dead leaves and do what we can to prevent the take over of insects.
Just like friendships we do what we can to make those blossom. We step into a friendship getting to know someone. Who they are. Their history. Their life before us. We share stories, experiences. We sip coffee together or savor a glass of wine as the conversation flows. We do what we can to keep the friendship going for a long, long time.
After all life is about the people we have around us. They don’t even have to live near us to be a friend. Yet a friend is someone who is good for one’s soul. Who is not toxic and cause misery or belittlement. There is mutual respect and mutual giving and taking.
I have had a friend for a number of years which even from the beginning we really were not exactly like minded. We had nothing in common other then the same type of job. It is though a job that feels like family at times. There is a kindred spirit it seems as related to the day to day duties of the job.
She doesn’t read books as I do. She doesn’t seem to have any real interest in anything.. She has no hobbies. She would never share her age as I did. She told me if I knew how old she was, then she would have to kill me. A strange comment I always felt. It borders on what else is hidden.
I met her just before my Mother passed. She sent a fruit basket jointly with a few others I knew and then seemed to want to be friends. So as time moved on I sat with her sipping wine mostly talking about the job and then for me about the loss of my Mother and the difficulties that came afterward with her estate.
We had many dinners together which I cooked and she brought nothing other then a bottle of wine for her self. It was indeed lopsided but then I am a generous person so did not allow it to become an issue when all the while I should have. From time to time she would help me with something like move a small patio settee or a ride when my car was in repair. That sort of thing that friend usually do for one another.
I moved away out of state and the dinners ended. The friendship seemed ok from a distance with phone conversations. The usual birthday, Christmas card. Nothing really more. Once in a while I would send cookies which I use to share when I lived nearby. Something I do for friends.
There is an underlying anger within her which becomes more pronounced with each sip of wine. More times then not, I had to end a phone conversation because I was punching the air in frustration at the escalating anger. I began avoiding talking with her at “wine time” and then seldom phoned at all.
After many years I returned to the same state although not the same town. The promise was to visit. To get together. I made the invitation to come for Thanksgiving and she said she would. So I bought a bed for a room I had other plans for so that she would have a comfortable place to sleep overnight. Then all of a sudden there were excuses. Many excuses. All seemed to be laced around money. She has always been one who is very tight and doesn’t like to spend money. Always complained about this or that when in actuality she seems fine financially having inherited land, money from her Mother.
Dinners out in the past were always stressful because of the cost. So when this was repeated with the cost being a factor I went overboard making the cost barely anything at all. I was doing my best to keep the friendship that had actually died long ago alive.
A friendship that when I was punching the air during a rabid conversation, that I should have known was toxic. That it needed to die. Yet because my Mother harbored such anger my entire life other then her last five years, I kept feeling maybe I could somehow turn the anger around. Yet like when a flower just is not going to live, we need to snip it so others that are healthy can grow.
After receiving a very hateful, attacking email, in which I was accused of every sort of thing toward her, I did just that with the friendship. When one is so angry they must want to reverse that anger themselves. There is nothing that any one can do to change it. We can try to go out of our way to offer kindness, encouragement, compliments, to attempt to nourish the soul. Yet unless that friend, that person wants to be happy, there is nothing we can do to help.
So when it became so toxic for no reason and no responsibility taken, it was time to go snip, snip. I don’t wish her any ill will. I actually wish her well. I hope at some point she will overcome the anger that is directed at so many in her path from the driver in front of her, to the server at the restaurant, to the friend who sincerely is trying to make things easier. I so hope at some stage in her life she discovers that there can be happiness. That it is ok.
I just don’t want to hang around to see if she will ever reach that threshold. So now there is great space for other flowers to blossom and the ones that have been blooming all the while to beam. The weeds have been removed. The toxicity has been wiped away. And life feels so much fuller, happier and with less burden.
It is something that everyone probably will encounter in their life. I truly believe some people come into our lives at a time when we need to see more clearly on an issue and those people are only intended to stay for a while. Not a lifetime as some are. The lifetime ones are the ones who care and respect. Those are the true flowers of the garden and the ones to nourish. We don’t need many flowers to have a garden. We sometimes only need one beautiful blossom yet we can have a full bouquet when there is a healthy, nourishing environment.
So I encourage all of you who read this to stand tall to your values. To not try to continue a friendship that needs to just fade away. To kick dirt as a friend said, if you have to and move on because life is not about anger. Life is about beauty. It is about joy. It is about laughter. It is about peace.
So may your garden flourish today and always.