October 28, 2008

Friendship- Fulfillment

If you are one of the 17 long time readers you have seen various posts in which I have mentioned my friend 'D.' This past August marked ten years since his death. I don't think about him everyday anymore, but I haven't forgotten him either.

It is not unusual for me to see something that makes me think of him. It is not uncommon for me to sometimes wonder what he would be doing now had he lived. Ten years ago I was married, but hadn't yet become a father. Ten years ago I was on a different career path. Ten years ago I was someone else.

That is kind of surreal, but it is true in many ways. So many things have happened to me that my life has been changed. The guy I used to be is how I sometimes think about it. The guy that I was has moved on to different pastures, perhaps they are better, perhaps they are worse.

'D' had a lock on what he wanted to with his life and who he wanted to be. I didn't have that same fix. I had ideas. I had dreams, but there wasn't any one thing that grabbed me with enough passion to make me say that I had found it.

Sometimes in the quiet moments of the night I sit and wonder how I got to be where I am. It is not that my life is terrible. It is not. It is not that I spend all my days moaning over the things that could have been, I don't.

But at the same time I am very aware of the ticking of the clock and the fragility of life. I don't expect to find myself overjoyed all day, every day. But I expect that I can be in a place where that happens more frequently. I find that my life is not giving me everything that I want. There are some holes, some empty places that need filling.

I know that I am not the only one who feels like this. My best friend has the same feeling. Other dear friends have also voiced similar sentiments. The big distinction among us is what we intend to do about this, how we go about dealing with those empty spaces.

There is no doubt that the answers are different for different people. What works for me may not work for others.

'D' and I used to discuss this. I suspect that he knew that his lifespan had been shortened long before the rest of us knew. To the best of my knowledge he was relatively at peace with it. I am not sure that I could have faced the end as stoically as he did.

When I think about these things relative to my children there is a lot that I want to say them. So much guidance that I want to provide. You look at your children and you want nothing but the best for them. When things are wrong you're instantly primed for action, ready to go into battle if needed.

But the thing is that for some of the challenges that the kids face there is nothing that we can do but support them, tell them that we love them. It is very hard and uncomfortable to accept that no matter what we do sometimes they are going to get hurt. I suppose that sometimes the best that we can do is work on giving them coping skills so that when things get tough they know how to deal with it.

One of the best "skills" that I can think of is helping them learn how to be a good friend. Because if they learn how to be a good friend they will find themselves rewarded with good friends. And that is a reward worth having.

Crossposted here.


therapydoc said...

What a great message. I couldn't agree more. Teach them how to be a friend and they'll have friends when they need them. Great, Jack.

Jack said...

Thanks Doc. Friends are important.