"A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?" - -- Khalil Gibran
Theories involving friendship are numerous. Some of the more popular theories center on the cost-to-benefit ratio. We give our time and energy to others believing that in turn they will extend their time and energy to us. When our efforts are not reciprocated, we often move on to other friendships and end the one that is not productive. More common sense theories claim friendships are relative to proximity. We will befriend those we have access too. In examining these theories, I concluded that my standard for friendship might be more elevated than the standard most people apply to theirs.
I do befriend many people but only a select few are what I consider my most treasured. These precious few are not ones I have never exchanged bitter words nor are they ones who have been at my side for every hardship I have endured. These are individuals who I can go years without speaking to yet the next time we meet it will seem as if no time at all as passed since our last encounter. Losing contact with those close to me is never a planned action. Yet sometimes a friend will slip away. That does not mean they are gone forever or even gone from our hearts and minds but their physical presence is missed.
My friend Elaine and I had a close relationship. It was a friendship that largely grew out of the friendship my ex husband had with hers. Together the four of us became rather tight knit. We began our marriages together and even stood up for each other. We were young, foolish and naïve but a wonderful friendship developed between Elaine and I. Together we learned how to jump the hurdle from adolescence to adulthood. We shared our hopes and dreams, welcomed each other’s children to the world and sobbed together when our marriages crumbled. We moved on and grew and our friendship remained steady. Ten years ago, I entered into a major depressive episode and isolated myself from everyone that was close to me. When I began communicating, again I discovered that all the old contact information I had on my friend was no longer valid. I began searching for her but could only find dead ends. I would revisit search engines several times a year but never with any promising results. Even when I was not actively searching, she was never far from my thoughts. I never lost hope that we would find each other.
Facebook came through for me this week. I was bored and began plugging in names of acquaintances that my friend and I had shared. Locating someone I knew she had been close to I scanned their list of friends and found a few connections. Eventually I stumbled across someone I was certain was a relative of my friend. I hesitated about making contact because if I were wrong I did not want to disturb this person unnecessarily. I went with my instinct and made the contact. Within a few hours, my old friend was back in my life and we are looking forward to reestablishing our friendship and playing catch up.
My first marriage. Left to right my ex, me, Jon and Elaine. Those guys are long gone but the friendship between Elaine and I will last forever.