We all have friends and acquaintances. People come and go in our lives, making it more pleasant with just their existence. Some last for seasons, some last for years, some last for lifetimes. And then there are the ones that are just, well… different. For some unexplained reason, they are more than just friends. It is like your souls recognize each other, and they just get you. These people are our best friends, our confidants, our lifelines, our tribe. Time can go by in our busy lives and yet this relationship picks right up where it left off, never changing even as you each inevitably change yourselves. There is comfort, acceptance, and support that often exceeds logical explanation.
Countless studies have confirmed that having strong friendships benefits us in many ways, from surviving the difficult teenage years, to our level of work satisfaction, to thriving in old age. Having these people (consisting of spouses, partners, or very good friends) in our lives gives us the ability to share meaningful experiences with those around us, thus increasing our own enjoyment and decreasing the effects of our stressors. A core group of our “people” ensures we are connected to the world around us, and increases the chances of satisfaction in many areas of our lives.
I have been thinking about the integral, irreplaceable people in my life lately and how they have simultaneously helped to shape my character and also supported me throughout the happy and the difficult times. Very few I have known since 7th grade. A few from work, a few family members, a couple that I have even met very recently while just being a mom and carting my kids around. I don’t know if I believe in a higher power, but these few individuals have been the key to any success I have had in my life, whether that refers to parenting, working, or school. No person is an island, and we stand on the backs of our very good family and friends for support in order to deal with life and grow.
On one hand I believe we are insignificant flecks of matter in a vast universe. On the other hand, I believe these people have been placed in my path for a reason. Some relationships, specifically the timing of when people come into your life, just can’t be explained. I often think back to my late teen years when I met my husband and think, if we had done one thing differently we may not have even met. What if I did not come up to work that one evening, my day off work, to chat with my co-workers and run into Dave? He happened to ask me out that night, but it was spur of the moment and definitely unplanned.
What if I had not taken that job where I met some of the best nurses and staff that would support me in learning the ropes, commiserate with over policy changes, and push me to go for new roles? What if I had not let my son ride the bus this year or skipped signing him up for basketball, and had not met the wondrous souls of my new hot mess mom friends who have made this year so much better than past years? The Butterfly Effect is a real phenomenon, and my own life experiences with friends have taught me to be grateful for what happens, even if it is not what you planned. You just never know what is coming, so make it a point to stay open to new people and experiences.
Not one person can fulfill all of your needs in life, and in close friendships or relationships this certainly rings true. My spouse has been one of these core persons in my life, and yet he is not alone in this congregation. Others have played a part in building a cozy little support quilt that I have nuzzled against throughout the years. You know who you are, if you are reading this and feel the warmth coming through the words on this page. Tonight I am grateful for you guys. Thank you for being a part of my weird, small, diverse, and occasionally twisted tribe that I am lucky to call my persons. Life can sometimes be tough and messy. Having you guys makes the good times better and the hard times suck a lot less. Thank goodness for our persons.