My Friends 12/5/19

Appreciation by Richard Bleil

Today, on my social media page I had a simple post (well, today as of the writing of this post, not the publishing of it). It simply said, “Thank you for being my friend”.

I have amazing friends. I’ve written posts about a few of them but there are many that I have not even touched on. The reality is that my friends are amazing.

I’m going to try very hard to avoid singling out any friends as I write this, because I know I would miss some important ones if I did. But maybe I can talk about some categories and what they mean to me.

See, I’ve never had luck finding somebody who wanted to share my life with. It was exceptionally rare that I ever had a girlfriend (or more), so maybe my friends were a more critical part of my world than perhaps they should be, but I’ve been blessed with the friends I have.

I guess I have a lot of friends, but what’s more important is that my friends are so great. They’ve stayed with me throughout so much turmoil, the good times and bad. It’s funny when I think about what I’m going through, and the friends that I have lost. I’ve always tried to be a generous person, perhaps especially so to friends. I’ve tried supporting them as I could, when they had fundraisers, or needed a shoulder.

Now, I have nothing. I have no powerful job, I have no money to give, I don’t even have a means to travel. And I’ve lost so many friends. When I lost authority, I lost many friends when they realized that they could get nothing from riding my coat tails. When I ran out of money, I lost friends who realized that I couldn’t pick up the tab. But it actually feels good to have lost these people. It’s like I’ve lightened my load.

But more than that, it highlights the importance of those people that matter, my friends. My real friends. It’s interesting to see the people who are still willing to call me a friend. Me, with nothing to offer, nothing to give, and yet these remarkable people just, I don’t know. Maybe they just want me in their lives.

It’s hard to fathom. I’ve always been raised to be independent and helpful to others. It’s so hard to be on the other hand. Having been raised as I was, it’s difficult to think of myself as the needy type, but I think that the hardest thing for me to accept is just love. If somebody actually expresses a positive sentiment about me, it makes me want to cry. I just don’t know how to accept anything positive about myself, and the problem is complicated because I find it difficult to believe there is anything good about me to begin with.

I have friends who have stuck with me since, well, middle school which, for me, is the mid ‘70’s. It’s astounding to think of friends that have been with me for that long. I have newer friends, who have only known me as the homeless guy living in the basement of their friend. These are an interesting circle, actually. Suffering major depression, I rarely came out from the basement, and I met them periodically but always kind of tangentially to what they were doing. They’d get together to do something with the friend who was letting me stay with her, and I’d come out of hiding long enough to say hi, and slink back to where it was safe. And yet, even in these circumstances, I walked away with a few new friends that I’m fortunate to have in my life.

No matter how I have met my friends, I hope that they all know just how important they are to me, and how much they have helped me. It’s easy to dwell on everything that I’ve lost and covet what I wish I could figure out how to regain, especially having reached such heights of success. My friends, however, are an important lesson for me to remember what I still have. Maybe I don’t have a cool car that people comment on anymore (or any car at all for that matter), or my own place where I can cook at three in the morning just because I want to, and maybe I don’t have a title that makes people go “whoa, that’s cool”, and maybe I’m not wasting thousands of dollars a month because I can afford to, but what I do have are the connections I’ve made along the way. I have my friends, and, as difficult as it is for me to accept, I have their love. This is my world right now, and I just hope they know how much I appreciate each and every one of them, even on my bad days.

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