12.05.2012

The Influence of Friends

What is the definition of a true friend?

I think we all have our own definition based on our own life experiences. Different things matter to different people.

In my experience, and probably many others, a true friend is one who loves you and cares for you NO MATTER WHAT. It's someone who accepts you for who you are and the mistakes that you've made. It's someone who is loyal and that you can trust to say kind things about you when you're not around. A true friend is someone who won't let insecurities or jealousies get in the way of how they view you. A true friend will tell you when you're being ridiculous. They will love you, guide you, help you, make you laugh when you need it, confide in you, keep your secrets, and push you to be better than you are today.

Over the course of my life I've had friends come and go. It's part of life. But it's always amazing to me to look back and see the influence they had on my life, both good and bad. I've made some amazing friends with incredible character.

I was thinking of one particular friend this morning and the situation in which we became friends. He knew my deepest, darkest secrets, and not necessarily because I told him. He knew the good and bad in me at that time and chose not to care. He knew the reputation I had and it didn't bother him. It was the lowest time in my life. Rumors and lies destroyed my reputation and cost me many friends. And yet, he still continued to hang out with me and make me laugh. He encouraged me to be better and see the good things in life. We're still friends to this day. Thinking about that situation made me cry in awe. What an amazing person he is! What an amazing thing he did!! I bet he was a spectacular missionary. He put the love of the person over what everyone else thought or did. He didn't care about them. He cared about me. And I'll forever be grateful.

I think every once in a while, certain people come into our lives that we have a connection with that can't be explained. Things just click and you know that you will always care about each other and that you'd do anything for them. Sometimes it's a spouse, a friend, a teacher, or whatever. I've had many of those people in my life. And I hope to have many more.

I think too often we dwell on the broken friendships or the ones that are one sided. We feel hurt and frustrated and angry that somehow what you shared with that person has fizzled and died. I do it all the time. But the fact is, they impacted your life in one way or another. If it was good, cherish it. If it was bad, learn from it. Easier said than done. But when I feel angry or upset about losing friendships, I just have to take a look around and see the many people I have around me that are still running right beside me and encouraging me to be better. They haven't dropped out of the race. Those are the ones who will help you get to where you want to be. They are the ones who will stick by you no matter what. They haven't given up on you. And they're doing it because they love you and want to. What a beautiful thing.

I'm so grateful for the friends I've had, good and bad, but mostly good. Never have I felt so loved and appreciated as when I look back and see the things people have done for me and the love they've shown me. It's very humbling. And I try to see the things they're doing for me now. I am truly blessed. I don't know where I'd be without life's little guardian angels by my side. Thank you to each and every one of you. I appreciate it more than you know. Thanks for not giving up on me and for running the race of life by my side.