Monday, May 25, 2009

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

Love. It is so easy to say. But, have I really told the people I love how much they enrich my life everyday? How do you maintain a balance so that your words are not insincere?

Relationships are hard to maintain. People drift in to your life and you find a connection and wonder how you have lived this long without those people in your life. Things go happening and then you suddenly wonder "whatever happened to ...." Sometimes people move to a different location and after awhile you simply lose contact. These are people that you would call on almost daily and think that it was the end of the world when they left. You would solemnly vow to keep in touch, but the letters or phone calls became fewer, until it was only a Christmas greeting you would exchange, then for some reason or another, that would also cease to be. Maybe one year you sent out your holiday card and they did not respond, so the next year you crossed them off your list.

Not long ago, as I sat watching TV alone one evening, an old friend came to mind. I had not talked to her in almost 30 years. On a whim, I looked her up online and found that she still lived where we had met her and her husband, where our toddlers had played together. She took care of two of my children while I was in the hospital giving birth to my last baby. We spent nearly every weekend together the two years we lived there. I was devastated that we were moving away and we both cried for days. I called her. She remembered me and we chatted a few minutes. Whatever connections of the heart we had were gone, though. I was sad to realize that. Just sad, that's all.

It died, that relationship, quietly and mostly unnoticed. Time and distance, I suppose played the biggest factor. But, what about those relationships that die where time and distance don't enter in? What about those relationships that die through neglect or an unintentional slight? How do you mend those relationships? Through words or actions? Confrontation?

My daughters are both very outspoken. Never ask their opinions if you don't want to hear something that may offend you, because they will tell you exactly how they feel. They have been known to hurt each others feelings ( and mine) from time to time. They will hash it out together, though. They are two very distinct individuals with different lifestyles and goals. Neither can pressure the other to change her ways. However, they each respect that about each other and when they do argue it can be very traumatic. I don't like to be in the room. These two love each other fiercely, though and that relationship will always remain intact. No matter how thinly stressed that thread gets, they will always repair it and the knot will grow stronger.

They aren't currently at odds with each other and I only use their relationship as an example. What I am really wondering about are the relationships with friends. I have many people that I consider to be my friends. Each relationship is unique because each one of them is unique. I have friends that I am always on my best behaviour with. I would never vent my real feelings and I would consider those to be my casual friends. Those relationships require minimal maintenance and are pleasant enough, but a little superficial. These people know only the part of me that I am willing to reveal.

Close friends are those who have seen the dark side of your personality and still want to be around you. In turn you get to see their flaws. We all have flaws, but if you remain friends in spite of those flaws you are, indeed, true friends. What happens if you slight that friend and are unaware that you did? Do you ask them if you have offended them or do you wait it out and hope that the old camaraderie will once again come back. I know that from time to time I have had my feelings crushed by ones that I hold near and dear. When I look back at the situation I sometimes realize that I had misunderstood a word or deed entirely and that I should simply let it go. Other times I have been so deeply pierced that I start to think that I am not valued as their friend and I distance myself. I still want that friendship, that relationship to endure, but am not sure how to come to terms with my feelings.

I suppose that we all want to feel like we are valued as friends. I have sensed that a very special and dear friend is feeling this way. How do I make this friend know that his contribution to my my life is far from insignificant and that he is valued more than he will ever know?


luksky said...

Great post and so, so much food for thought! A few years ago I started writing letters to the important people in my life letting them know how much they meant to me...I was planning on them having them after I die. Now that I think about it, why wait??

ellen abbott said...

You tell him... "that his contribution to my my life is far from insignificant and that he is valued more than he will ever know". Just tell him. I know I make that sound easy. I know that it is not, not for me, anyway to make myself vulnerable. But I have learned that it is OK if the person you cherish moves away from you emotionally. People move into and out of your life for different reasons and different lengths of time. I've become more accepting of that in the last decade.

It may not change anything, the drift may be due to other circumstances but at least he will know that someone found importance and value in him. And you will not be wishing you had told him when it was too late.

Friendship doesn't really come easy to me. I have to practice it. And for me that means making that conscious effort to reach out to them, the people I think of as my friends.

Lover of Life said...

I think sometimes friendships wear out. For whatever reason, life's lessons go in opposite directions. I think we attract the energy we need in people to advance whatever it is we need to learn. Unfortunately that's not a static thing - it changes. It doesn't mean you have to think less of them, on the contrary, send them off with the very best of thoughts for all the wonderful memories. If you feel the opposite - then give them a call. But if you have to try too hard, maybe it's time for a break, if even for a little while.

Anonymous said...

I love you both very much. Message recieved. You almost made me cry. Thank you. The Doctor

Kathy G said...

Thank your for your thought-provoking post at the end of the long weekend.

I realized yesterday that a woman who was once a very close friend should probably be taken out of my address book. Over the years our interests diverged until we really have nothing in common anymore.

Andrea said...

Friendships are so interesting to me. I often wonder if I'm a good enough friend because I can sometimes let too much time go by without communication. I usually have only one, maybe two, close friends at a time. I'm a very private person and sometimes when relationship start to go too deep, I retreat. Not a good thing. If you feel those things about your friend, you should say the words exactly as you did here in your post. Anyone would be honored to hear those words!