The Christmas season is when I reach out to all the people who have been special in my life. Whether by writing Christmas cards, sending e-mail greetings, or sharing hugs, I'm always reminded of how blessed I am to have my wonderful friends. Henry Adams said, "One true friendship in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible." If true friendship is that rare, just what makes people "friends?"
I have a dear and wonderful family and extended family. I love them all (good thing, since in my case there are a host of them). But let's face it, won't get to choose our relatives, they are who they are. Friends, however, are chosen, so the relationship I share with each one is unique and special.
I have two friends with whom I formed an almost instant bond when we met. With each of them it began because we have a lot in common, but it goes much deeper than that.
Right from the start, we had a soul connection, an almost spiritual affinity. We just "clicked." We were working moms with kids the same age who attended the same schools, and we were members of the same church. We each loved to sing and play cards and dominoes. We had the same taste in clothes, furniture, food, movies, books - even men. We laughed at the same jokes and finished each other's sentences from day one. Over the years, we've occasionally not seen each other for months at a time, yet when we're together it's as if we were never apart. The bond is still there, fresh and alive.
I also had one very special friend with whom I actually had little in common. Francis and I were more than a decade apart in age and our tastes and interests were totally different. She was a registered nurse, and a grandmother. I worked in marketing, and had kids still in high school. She loved sewing, gardening and country décor. I love writing, reading and fine antiques. I love music; Francis was tone deaf.
Our relationship began slowly and grew gradually, taking several years to become a really close bond. Yet it was Francis I turned to when times were tough, and vice versa. We shared a lot of laughs as well as tears; then, last year, she died of breast cancer. Still, hardly a day goes by that I don't think of her and long for one of our heart-to-heart chats over a cup of coffee.
These three friends are the people who've seen me at my best without letting jealousy get in the way, and at my worst without turning away. They can heal my soul with a hug or sometimes just a touch. And they are the only ones who can tell me to shut up, shape up, or ship out, and know that I'll still love them tomorrow.
True friends fill a special place in our lives that no one else can touch - not our parents, nor our siblings, nor our extended family. Not even a spouse can take the place of a real friend.
So this Christmas, I feel rich indeed. I'm living proof that what's "hardly possible" can happen.