Yesterday, I attempted… and completed a second day’s fasting out of respect for a couple of my friends, Imran and Zak, who are observing Ramadan, but who also took the time to come to my house last night… and deliver this cake (#Cakes4Syria)....
When I thought about it, it just didn’t feel right to welcome them into my home, but not be able to offer them anything to eat or drink… so I decided that I should abstain for the whole day as well.
As last week, I took the time to reflect on those few, but hugely important people who have had a significant impact on my life. When I committed my first thoughts to (electronic) paper, I dwelt mainly on my immediate and close family, whose love and influence has undeniably helped to shape the person that I’ve become. I also realise that I am incredibly lucky to go home every night to be with someone who is both my wife and my friend. In a few days Elaine and I have been together for nine years, and I simply don’t have the words to convey how much she means to me….
But during these past few hours, I’ve also recalled some of those people to whom I am not related…. friends who have been, or still are part of my life and who (for any number of reasons) have made a positive difference.
Of course as the year pass, and we grow and develop as people, so friends inevitably drift in and out of our lives, but even the briefest of friendships can still have a lasting impact. As someone who has enjoyed many years playing and watching sport, I was rarely without “good mates”, but with a couple of notable exceptions (and I hope you know who you are…), virtually all my closest friends have been female.
I am well aware of the sensitive side to my nature, but it takes an awful lot for me to feel comfortable or “safe” enough to share my innermost thoughts and feelings. That said I have still made some bad choices; more people have walked away than stayed “friends” – I have wondered if the “real” me wasn’t actually worth the effort…? Whatever the case, I am old (albeit not wise) enough to accept that perceived good things can and do come to a proverbial end; but I still cling to the belief that there was a reality behind the reason(s) for becoming and being friends. To be denied that “truth” would be a shattering blow… even now; but I suppose protection comes in the form of the passage of time… and my constant (although occasionally clearly misguided) willingness to see the best in people.
Thankfully there are friendships that do (and hopefully will) stand the test of time. I have looked back at how I first met the people (again without naming names) whose friendship I value so much, and whilst I suppose every meeting is a chance or random encounter of sorts; that “chance” obviously takes on a much greater significance if it ultimately leads to a meaningful or long-term friendship.
I read an article recently, which claimed that there were eight types of friends that everyone should have in their respective life: a loyal best friend, a fearless adventurer, a brutally honest confidant(e), a wise mentor, a friend from a different culture, a polar opposite, a friendly neighbour, and a work pal.
I certainly don’t have anywhere near all of the above, but I would question whether friends should really be categorised or pigeon-holed in such a way?
My list would be a lot shorter… in fact it would contain just one word: “true”. If you are lucky enough to have even one true friend, then to be honest, the rest really doesn’t matter – and so to those who have brought that truth into my life, whenever and for however long; I just want to say a simple but heartfelt thank you….
Anyway, this is officially the end of introspective blogs - for a couple of weeks at least… for the next fortnight I am planning to devote my spare time to three things that are far less mentally challenging: pedalling my exercise bike, watching Petra Kvitova’s defence of her Wimbledon single’s title… and eating cake… I might even try doing all three at the same time (but I’ll need to be quick, there isn’t much cake left after last night’s carnage!).