I still remember it like it was yesterday. In my minds eye I can see my Dad sitting across from me and holding his hand open to display all five of his fingers. He was once again imparting yet another life lesson in one of his talks. . .or what my siblings and I liked to refer to as a “Dad lecture”. I must have been about 10 the first time I heard this one and I’m sure I heard it no less than 7 times during my adolescence. . .
“Summer,” he said, “you have not met your best friend yet.”
This was devastating to me at the time. The rapid-fire of thoughts that shot through my brain went something like this: Jenny is my best friend and I know that we will be best friends forever and we will grow up and get married to best friends and live next door to each other and have kids and our kids will get married to each other and we will go shopping and share clothes and our whole lives will be spent side by side. I mean, we are best friends!
I fought him on this one. . . I defended our friendship like a high priced lawyer defends his client. He was clueless about the depths of the bond Jenny and I shared. I fought until I shed tears. . . he didn’t know what he was talking about.
He wasn’t done, though. He had more “wisdom” to impart. . .
“You will be able to count your true friends on one hand,” he told me with his five fingers displayed before me.
Gasp! This dude is crazy. . . thought my adolescent mind.
Years later, as an adult, I can say it. . . he was right. . . Again.
When my dad spoke these words, I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand that life gets more complicated and time becomes far less available. To have a friendship, a real, solid, deep friendship, takes time and effort. Time means nothing without effort and without effort there will never be time. I think when my dad said “true” friend he meant the kind of friend that knows you. I, mean, really, really, knows you. . .and vice versa.
As I look back over my life from high school to present, each phase has proven my Dad’s statement to be true. What I have found, though, is that these true friendship transition with life stages. Some of those “true” friendships, (and by true I mean deep, solid, knowing, friendships) that existed in high school or college are not necessarily still present today. Not because they weren’t important, but rather as life changed the friendships changed as well. This is just a part of life. . . a part of growing. What I have found, though, is that even though some of these friendships have changed, the touch of those lives on mine remain. I can see each of them in the person I am today as I realize that who I am is, in part, a culmination of these friendships.
And even as I write this I am acutely aware of and excited by the reality that I have yet to meet all my friends. . .and that just blows my mind away.
Oh, and one last thing. . . my best friend, Jenny? I have no clue what she is doing right now.