Goopy, but it wanted to get written:
I recently spent a week at The Glen Workshops—a nice conference on religion and the arts that’s full of some of the nicest people I’ve ever been in a group with. I’d made an unusually large (for me) bunch of friends when I went 3 years ago and I was a little nervous about meandering back in and being welcomed after a couple of years of not going. Wasted worry. People were gloriously, heart-healingly welcoming. And I made new friends. Like I said, the place is unsually dense with folks who are smart, art-driven, and truly nice, so it’s very, very fertile ground. I didn’t stay on the campus of St. John’s College in
Santa Fe where the Workshops take place, though. I stayed down the mountain in the city with one of my oldest and most deeply beloved friends. 40 years we have now.
I don’t think of myself as someone who makes friends easily—a holdover from a slightly isolated only childhood (we moved a lot and I was a little weird and a lot shy). I do a pretty good job these days of acting like I’m an extrovert when I’m in groups—mostly because I’d rather make that high-energy effort than go
back to watching from the side and feeling weird and socially dysfunctional.
Anyway, I started thinking about friendship. I’ve had an interesting year, friendship-wise, a weirdly good year, partially because I’ve maybe been more focused on it than usual, for a variety of reasons (one friend out of work and
stressed, another grieving the loss of a child, others who’ve wandered back into my life because of Facebook, the happy surprise of the Glen, and my I’m-always-smarter-when-I’m-talking-to-her Santa Fe friend whose wisdom I particularly needed this year and who runs this nice blog and lets me write
these meandering think-bits). It’s probably good to periodically run through your friendships and make sure you’re paying proper/nurturing/conscious attention to them. Because I, at least, can be careless, and have been.
Smarter and more profound folk than I have written reams on the subject of the value (salvific, succor-giving, steadying) of friendships of various sorts and degrees. I can’t add anything to those reams and don’t mean to try.
Maybe I’m just writing this to let the Universe know that I know how fortunate, how blessed, and how flat-out wealthy in friends I am, and that I’m deeply grateful, even if writing this makes me feel a little bit like an Oprah episode…
Twin 6′ Hearts
Jim Dine Born in Cincinnati in 1935