“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” ~St. Thomas Aquinas
The other day, I was thinking about all the friends I’ve had through the years, beginning with the earliest ones I remember and up to the newest ones that I’ve never actually met face-to-face . . . you know, like your FB friends. Each of them has a permanent place in my heart. So I’ve decided to dedicate the next few months to friendship.
Do you ever stop to think about the little girl or boy that you considered your very best friend in kindergarten? What about your high school besties? Who is your best friend today and why? What makes a friend?
Maybe you still live near the town where you grew up and your childhood friends have become your adulthood friends. With a father in the Coast Guard, we moved every few years. While I loved the adventure, I didn’t like leaving the people that I’d grown close to. And sometimes it was hard starting over and making new friends.
The quality of friendships changes, too. When I was little, I was happy to have someone to play and laugh with, to hold hands and sing and skip through the playground with. My needs were simple. As an adult, I’ve given and found so much more in friendships. It’s great to have someone who shares your views, your pastimes, or your sense of humor. But I’ve found irreplaceable the encouragement and support I’ve received, especially from those who have carried similar crosses. Friends have given me insight and helped me grow in compassion. Many friends have touched my life in deep ways that have changed me for the better and left me forever grateful.
So, to my friends, past and present, and even future . . . “Cheers!”
Getting to know your friends and letting them know you, takes a bit of vulnerability. Sharing your true self opens the door to possible rejection. But it also allows you to form a connection with another. And those connections are what make life beautiful.
Do you and your friends always agree? Do you like the same things and face the same challenges?
One of my dear friends has many things in common with me—we are both hardworking and driven to complete what we start, we are both struggling through the challenges of raising teenage boys, we are both writers, and we both have situations in our past that have made us stronger today—but we also have many different views on things, so much so that her husband wonders how we ended up friends. But I wouldn’t trade our friendship for anything.
She has a kind heart, and I’ve noticed that she gives more than she receives. She loves her family and will sacrifice all she’s got for any one of them. She’s also a good friend, encouraging and supportive, to say the least. If ever I need something—a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, or material help—I know that she would be there for me.
The way she struggles with her crosses, inspires me to be a better mother and a better friend. One of her crosses is the struggle to lose weight. Several months ago, through sheer determination, she discovered a medical problem that is at the root of her excess weight and has made weight loss almost impossible. But she also found something that helped and she is now over 70 pounds lighter. As an author and a person who seems driven to help others, she’s decided to tell her story. She has allowed herself to be vulnerable, sharing her true self not only with friends but with the world.
I’ve had the privilege of reading Miranda’s book, and I feel like I’ve been given the chance to walk a mile in her shoes. With the experiences she shares and her concrete advice, I can see this book doing so much good for people who share her struggle. While I don’t struggle with weight loss, there are people in my life that I care about that do. I’m glad to have read Miranda’s story. I’ve never realized the extent of the challenges a person faces when they are overweight, from the self-image to the reactions of others and so much more. In a spirit of solidarity, I recommend this book to everyone.
From the book description on Amazon: “And for anyone who reads this book but doesn’t struggle with weight loss, this book will shatter stereotypes and misconceptions about overweight people. Doctors will be encouraged to dig deeper. Friends and family members will know better what they can do to support and help their loved one. This is more than just a weight loss book. It’s a call to action. A must read for everyone.”
Miranda’s book comes out May 10th but it is also available for pre-order here.