Friendship — it’s a very simple word that has so many different meanings it’s hard to tell which one is best. I have several friends who have been in and out of my life, some who have known me for more years that I can count, and others who have slipped away unnoticed.

Over the last 5 years, I have had some very special friends. Despite my awkwardness at times of asking for help, they have been there without question.

In the last week I have had 4 friends, in 3 different states, stand up for me. It wasn’t something they expected, or for that matter, I expected. Past drama reared it’s ugly head — yes drama is ugly. I knew it was coming, they did not, but I did not expect it at the moment it appeared.

I spent a handful of hours with one of my far distant friends, who graciously listened to me and then listened some more. She was supportive and patient as I repeated the issues again and again. She let me vent, she told me to calm down, and for a few hours that worked.

I called another friend. We hadn’t spoken in some time. It was a long call, half of it to catch up and the other half to listen to my drama. She was very familiar with my on and off drama, but like friend one, she let me vent. She was quiet and listened, she offered her opinion when I took a breath and, as long standing friendships are, she listened — without judgment, without angst, and without impatience.

My third friend walked into the storm without knowing it. She made the mistake of asking about the upcoming drama without realizing the storm had blown in early. She got an earful, not as much as the first two friends, but still more than she expected.

Number four did not get an earful, she did not get a lot of details, but she knew drama was there, she knew that I needed a distraction. She threw out a life preserver and for one of the rare times in my life, I grabbed on to it.

I hate leaning on people, I hate asking for help; both smack of weakness and insecurity. I could easily list all the reasons why, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that past baggage has been delivered by the airport personnel (of all the luggage they cannot lose!)

In the last few years I have painfully, awkwardly, embarrassingly asked for and received help from several friends. These 4 (2 long time friends, 2 very very new friends) have listened to me, have supported me, have provided distractions for me.

These 4 currently have been most present in my life, but are not the only ones that came to my rescue.

A few short years ago when drama started there were a good half dozen people who rescued me. I should have listened better, I should have realized that my intuition was cloudy and unreliable, but I didn’t. My faulty intuition aside,the drama would have come no matter what, but maybe my stress level would have been less.

6 friends on the spur of the moment rode to my rescue, secured me, and even through exhaustion, made me feel loved and safe.

Now, as drama comes back into my life, I have reaching out for help again; this time it is easier. I don’t feel I am the one bringing the unknown into their life. I am comfortable asking for their support. I have grown and learned that the friends I thought weren’t real are. As Sally Field once said, “You like me, you really like me.”

It took a long time for me to leave the darkness and come to terms that I was not the one in the dark, that I had friends, that I was loved for who I am. That is a huge wall to scale, but past determination came back and I scaled that wall — with some help from friends.

I am eternally grateful for my friends, near and far. I’m quite sure without these friends (and half a dozen others) I would not be here today or I would be at the bottom of the wall looking up instead of at the top looking down the other side.

My friends have shown me what friendship is, they have shown me that I can be happy and when times get rough, they will be there. I will not be alone, I am not an island.

Even in the depth of pain, of confusion, or loneliness, there are people who care.

I am grateful that my friends are there, that even in the darkest days, most awkward and embarrassing days, I could call any of them — I can talk to them, and no matter what.

When the clouds clear and the drama comes to an end, we are going to celebrate. I owe them — all of them — more than words can say, more than I can show. So this post is going to have to do everything I cannot find the words for — that I cannot show:

Thank you for being there for me, thank you for listening to me, thank you for loving me.

Thank you for showing me what Friendship is.

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