During the Pandemic, many things have been difficult. One of the hardest for me was the sense of isolation and aloneness. My 103 yr. old father-in-law could no longer live in his house alone and my husband didn’t want him to have to go into a nursing home, but desired him to be in his home. That meant, my husband has spent most of the last year in Central Kansas (we live in Iowa). Add to that all the concerns about Covid, being sequestered in our homes, making every effort to stay safe from giving and getting the disease.
What that meant was that I was alone most of the time, without companionship except my cats. (Sadly, one died this past summer.) It wasn’t so difficult at the beginning of that time because I have introverted tendencies. But even introverts need social interactions and connections at some point. In a different times, I would have met friends for coffee, spent time at the library (remember, bookaholic), or go to church. So, I was lonely a lot, which didn’t help the grieving process I have been dealing with, or my struggle with depression.
But things are changing. I am fully vaccinated and trust that if I get Covid, I will weather through it because I am healthy and low risk – so are my family and close friends. My grandchildren, including my granddaughter who is a higher risk for serious effects of Covid, will soon be fully vaccinated. It feels as though life is slowly and surely moving back to a time when we can gather comfortably, even though I’m still unsure and uncomfortable with any large crowds.
So, I spent a day this week with two of my best friends – one for morning coffee and one for afternoon coffee (yes, I was a bit wired from all the coffee). Nothing could have made my day any better than being with friends I love. During one meeting, I discussed the people we choose to be with – what are their qualities and why we want to be with. I know each of us choose our friends for different reasons and certainly I have friends for different parts of my life. But for those I am closest to, there are certain things that connect us. I’ve just created a partial list as follows.
A friend is someone who helps you up
when you are down, and if they can’t,
they lay down beside you and listen.
Winnie the Pooh
- Humor: I like someone who laughs easily. I tend to laugh at my mistakes (which I make frequently) and I often do belly laughs. But if people can’t enjoy the funny sides of life, then often they take everything, including themselves.
- Authenticity: I have little tolerance for people who pretend to be something they’re not or like to play emotional games. That doesn’t refer to those who are struggling to figure out who they are. I remember the day and place when I realized I didn’t know who I was, because I tried to be whoever I thought the person I was with, wanted me to be.
I’m also not talking about people who have fearfully kept secrets. Again, I’ve had mine, some I even kept from myself, so I understand we have secrets we hold deep within ourselves that make us feel safe.
What I want mostly in my friendships, are people who seek to be honest and real, wherever they are on their life’s journey.
- Kindness: We live in a time where hatred, violence, guns, and divisiveness are valued. I have no room in my life for things that diminish people. Compassion towards others is my goal. I don’t always hit that mark, but that’s what good friends help me with – they challenge, confront, remind me, and encourage me to best person I can be.
- Similar Interests: I love have friends who love to read (that’s one of the reasons I have so many books – they recommend books they’re reading that I need to get). Most of my good friends like to discuss similar topics of interest such as systemic racism, spirituality, personal healing, travel, family, and so many other topics.
This is not a finished list, but is a beginning about the most important things I hold dear in my life and the people I am so grateful for . . . they are truly a blessing and a gift.