Some days are murky with pain. When battled politics smear together with hatred, fear, and the loss of innocent lives, it’s hard to navigate our feelings of confusion and grief… and do the dishes, fold the laundry, and drive through traffic in a car. At times like these, amid the grief, I find peace in thinking about the things I love about the people I love.
I’ve done a curious thing for most of my adult life: move to a home in a city that is away from my original home. I move, make friends, live and work and learn things about myself, my place, and the people around me. Then I settle into comfort and juuuust when my feet nearly grow roots: I move again. (I’m done doing that, for the record.)
Moving away from your friends is hard. Facetime makes it easier, except when you’re in the shower. Texting makes it easier, except when you don’t feel like texting. Snapchat makes it confusing because we got old I think?… or something like that.
I find comfort in the qualities of my best friends even when we’re miles apart. Bringing those qualities to mind is like rummaging through a toolbox of other people’s sparkle, and picking out what I need to keep hammering away at my day, especially when the days are murky and hard.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned and the qualities I admire in my friends. These are the reminders that I muster into my day-to-day when the brain gets weary and the distance feels far:
• There’s my cheery, positive, do-not-take-yourself-so-damn-seriously friend Tracy who will throw a silver lining on any damn thing I throw at her and it’s a good thing because DANGIT if I’m not good at getting extremely defensive, extremely quickly. Tracy is light-hearted, positive, chill-out, creative vibes when I want to gear up in my defensive armor. Front of the roladex which is why she’s a best.
• When the waves are crashing and you need to be a lighthouse in the storm, there’s Mom and Dad. Parents are friends, right? They’re like having living, breathing lighthouses in your corner to support you, shine the light, and guide the way.
• Really care about people from a place deep inside your heart. I learn this from most of my friends, but my little sister Lauren lives it without faltering. She’s the best among us with the most kindness in her heart. She got all the kindness, and the green eyes… so she wins life.
• Hustle hard and laugh harder is a lesson from my dear friend Whitney. Whether she knows that she inspires me in this way or not… her spirit lifts me up when I need it.
• Take your time, get it right, and keep a GREAT attitude because a crap attitude is just a drag… and other lessons I’ve learned from my friend and fellow vision-worker Jon.
• Be a loyal, enthusiastic, and encouraging friend like my friend Britt. It’s a good reminder when I feel like I want to hide in a hole. Essentially, be the kind of friend you want.
• Be generous with what you know and share it! A lesson from my friend Lauren who is always willing to listen to a hair-brained idea and give me her thoughts. See: Drake on Cake.
• Go out of your way to make people feel cared for is a constant reminder from my friend Jessica who will welcome you to her city, home, and heart like she has room for the world inside of her. She welcomed me to New Orleans like no other.
It’s good to think about, isn’t it? The things we learn, the qualities we admire and absorb, the love we have for the people we keep close.
I appreciate you. I hope this brings the love around you to mind. Make it a lovely day.