They can be wonderful, fulfilling, joyful, sustaining and supportive. And they can also bring pain, heartache, grief, regret and shame.
A couple of months ago I realized, with no small amount of trepidation, that writing the book with Mary and Jean was going to seriously deepen our friendships. Why the trepidation, you ask? Because I’ve lived long enough to have had some truly close, intimate friendships (and I am talking about friendships here, not romantic relationships) go seriously south. And it didn’t happen so long ago that I could dismiss these few occasions to youthful immaturity (mine, that is).
I would like to say that as a psychotherapist I have developed wonderful, God-like skills that allow me to avoid relationship pitfalls. That I am enlightened. That I have expunged all my personal darkness. That I am always patient, kind, good and without personal issues or bugaboos.
I would like to say it.
But it would be a lie.
So as much as I have truly loved the gift of our 3 friend’s friendships, I have had a little nagging worry that something difficult could happen.
And it did.
(Deep breath, everyone – it’s all okay!!)
Something got touched in me with one of us three. (I’m not namin’ names or tellin’ tales!) I was tired, it was late at night, and it happened. And I kept praying and hoping that this friendship would be in the category of “survivor”. A friendship with a friend who would “walk through the fire” with me. Who would hang in there with me while we worked out whatever was happening between us. And that we would not only come on the other side, but still holding hands.
Well, I’m pleased and happy to report that we walked through the fire and we are still holding hands (metaphorically speaking). I’m proud of me. I’m proud of her. I’m proud of us. I’m relieved. My faith in friendships has been renewed.
It’s worth the risk.
Photo credit: lamazone via Flickr