Everyone has a hunger, a gnawing need deep inside… sometimes for love, for acknowledgement, for acceptance – for me it is friendship.
Are you familiar with the children’s book Are You My Mother? Can you remember the school yard timidity and candor with which you once asked “Do you want to be my friend?” The desire for friendship and the tendency to look for it in the face of everyone I meet has never left me.
I struggled to find true friends throughout grade school – a bosom buddy, as Anne would say. High school lead to a more active social life, but only a few lasting friendships. A daily, through-and-through, soul-mate friend didn’t arrive until Danny. College was a desperately confusing time for friendships. I envisioned lively debate on literature, life and politics in front of the fire at the Union, but instead found myself isolated and completely disconnected from my peers and their lifestyle.
There are always regular characters in my life who settle in somewhere between friends and acquaintances, and true friends for whom I make special time, but it’s never enough. Best friends are never near enough, new friends are never close enough, acquaintances are rarely interested enough, and like a child I look up at each new face with one question “Are you a friend?”
Even if none of those things were true, even if I were smothered in friendships that hunger might still persist. I have come into a place where I acknowledge that hunger as a defining element in my life and the way I view the world. I am easily crushed, my nature inclines to embrace yet I restrain so as not to overbear, and I will never give up on you no matter the consequences.
There will never be enough long talks over a bottle of wine, and then (if I am lucky) a pot of tea. Alone I am at peace with my thoughts and myself. With friends I am exploring and navigating my life by sharing it with others.
What are you hungry for? What search defines your life? It might be the frame through which you see the whole world, but in focusing on the moving picture of life you have missed it up to now. I wonder if it’s shaping you for better or for worse.
I feel like I am whispering these things to a good friend, a very good listening friend.