Tis’ the season to be thankful. Thankful for family, for friends, for employment, for food and shelter. Thankful for the democratic freedoms that we enjoy, for the people who have fought for those freedoms, and for all the other people working to make the world a better, healthier, happier place. I actually keep a daily gratitude journal, so for me this time of year means pulling out this journal and reminding myself of all of the wonderful things – both simple and life-changing – that have happened throughout the year. In looking over the 2012 entries, I’ve been struck by a recurring theme: I am thankful for my friends with skills.
Skills is a loose term, which is my intention. In the more traditional sense, it can refer to the photographer friend who volunteers to help out with wedding stuff or the handyman friend who fixes your running toilet. On the less traditional side, what about the friend who is an incredible motivator for exercising? Or the group of writer friends who are kicking off their writing careers and provide incredible emotional support? Then there are the friends willing to drop everything to help you move and and the friends who are incredible cooks and love to feed you. Since it’s not my own personal strenght, I am also especially grateful for the friends who are caring and empathetic listeners.
I can attach a name and face to every one of these skills, which makes me a very fortunate and blessed person. I have been privileged to develop a truly unique and talented group of friends who have been my succor and strength over the last ten years. I hope that I have been able to give them as much as they have given me. It’s worth noting that, after I last wrote about my goal to be self-sufficient from my writing, I was approached by several friends gave me big hugs and offered to support me in any way possible. To those friends, I want to give an especially big thank you. Thank you for believing. Whenever self-doubt begins to creep up, I will remember those moments and will remember your kind words. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Speaking of friends, I recently read a deeply beautiful, heart-wrenching book by Gail Caldwell titled Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship. For anyone who has experienced grief, Caldwell’s words will resonate. Her writing captures the strength of friendship, the life-changing power of loss, and the complicated process of learning to live with grief. Above all, the story is a reminder of the importance of valuing the people in our lives at every opportunity possible.