Writing is a collaborative event. We think we’re writing all by ourselves only to realize there is someone whispering in our ear. It happens when we pause to laugh at a funny thought or wipe away tears created by a touching inspiration. When the last sentence is written, and we are blown away by what we wrote, we know we’ve participated in something bigger than ourselves and we feel the magic of connection.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the whisperer, who has been called a muse, the higher self, and even a spirit guide, is a friend. Who else but a friend would gently guide you and then step back to see where you’ll go from here? Who else but a friend will lift you up with no need to take credit for themselves? Who else but a friend is just happy to be with you and watch you grow?
While I was preparing to write this blog, I needed a friend like that. You see I had a great idea and then I lost it. Sadly, I did not stop and write it down, and it was such a great idea too. Unforgettable. Except for me and it was not coming back. I grieved for an entire week before I asked for help in meditation.
Here's how that went. “Hey God, you gave me a great idea and I didn’t take care of it, and it’s gone. Will you remind me what it was?” Silence.
“Ok God, I’ll meet you halfway. Remember when I was listening to the Bridge on Sirius radio and this song came on and inspired a whole blog? Let’s recreate that moment together. Here’s the plan. On my way to work this morning, I’ll turn on the radio and you play the song. Ok? Ok? God?”
Then a reoccurring earworm that’s been bugging me took over and started playing in my head. It was the theme song from the Golden Girls “Thank you for being a friend”. It’s been there for weeks. I like the song, but now was not the time, I was trying to have a conversation with God.
Then a plot twist happened, and the word ‘friendship’ floated into my awareness. Whoa, was I actually having a conversation with God? “Ok God, I’ll bite. Do you want me to write about friendship?” Silence, not even an earworm. I love these little chats.
Later, as promised, I get in my car and turn on the radio just in case God is going to play along with my plan. Before any song comes on the announcer says. “Friends tell friends to listen to The Bridge”. It was my turn to be silent.
The very next song that played was Carol King’s “You’ve Got a Friend”. Right after that, Bob Dylan’s, “Shelter from the Storm”. I didn’t need any more hints. My friend, my muse has spoken. On my way to work, I learned that friends are reliable, and when you ask stupid questions, they are quiet until you figure it out.
What other qualities are inherent in people who fall into the category of friend?
They have integrity – their actions speak loudly of their values and moral principles. They walk their talk and they do it consistently. And this makes them trustworthy.
A friend is also loyal, and you can count on them to have your back when others don’t. They listen patiently and give you the time you need to say all the stupid things you need to say before they blurt out some pretty wise insights. They do it in a way that doesn't make you feel judged either. They can do this because they allow themselves the honor of knowing you and your shoes and where you and your shoes have been.
A friend’s confidence brings out your own confidence because they are not in competition with you. They cheer you on, and it’s easy to laugh with them since they know exactly where your funny bone is. My favorite friend quality is they know how to be low maintenance without being aloof.
I looked up some quotes about friendship and found a common thread. Having friends and being a friend is the most valued thing in life. Even more valued than romantic love. Here is what some pretty influential people have to say about friendship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said the only way to have a friend is to be one.
Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Winnie the Pooh said to Christopher Robin, if you live to be a hundred, I hope I live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.
Oprah Winfrey joyfully stated that lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
Abraham Lincoln stated to his constituents, do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?
Examples of friendship are all around us, but every once and a while you meet one that changes your whole perspective on life. The story of Linda is one of them. She never married or had children. Instead, she became a teacher and then a principal of a school. She devoted herself to her students, her parents, her brothers, and their families. They all could count on her and there were many needs. One brother got brain cancer, another had a difficult time with addiction, her own father was incapacitated from exposure to chemicals during WWII. Linda had a full life with as many joys as there were sorrows.
Along the way she made and kept many friends and when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s they rallied around her to take care of her. Each one said in their own way, that if the roles were reversed, she’d do it for me and they 110% wanted to be there for her.
My heart was opened by the outpouring of support and from the way I felt watching Linda being cared for by her friends. I learned that being a friend is how we love each other and how we love ourselves. With friends, we are never alone and life is truly a collaboration.
If you are in need of a friend or need strength to be a friend, lean on the knowledge that love is the glue we need in life. Sit quietly and make space in your mind for a conversation with your inner friend. Maybe light a red or pink candle to help you open up to the love that is all around you. To help you connect even more deliberately, do something creative. Write, sing, paint, draw, or build something. Your friend will be there to inspire, encourage, and love you.