Friendship is a sheltering tree

1 minute read

Walking with my Grandpa Walter was a joy. He was so kind and friendly, connecting with friends and making new friends well into his nineties. He always made me feel so special and important to him, a feeling shared among so many of his loved ones.

Why is this experience so rare? For so many of us, our social circles narrow as we age, until we feel the constriction of daily loneliness.

I want to choose, like my mother’s father, to always welcome new friendships, to treasure my present friends, and to cherish those closest to me to nurture the vibrancy of our relationships. I want to maintain an openness to building friendships with newcomers, especially my friends’ offspring, who are so likely to be awesome.

As I think back on friends I’ve lost so far, there are a few names I’ve nearly forgotten (and hopefully forgiven) of those who have been unhealthy for me or tried to hurt or unnaturally change me. There is a short but growing list of friends who have passed on but whom I carry in my heart and live my life with their inspiration.

For the friends and family I can still reach out and hug, there is the multitude who have trodden paths further from mine. Each such person feels like a special present with amazing possibility whenever our paths may meet again.

Finally, we have the communities of friends who put up with me daily, monthly, or yearly. I am filled with gratitude for each of you. I look forward to more shared journeys and am enthused to learn what we discover along your paths and mine, and for how our friendship naturally changes each other.

I hope to always honor our shared moments and connections, and to always be growing and deepening my friendships as I was taught. I care about you. Knowing that you care about me warms my soul. Thank you.

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