Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

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via google

I am blessed with friends far better than I deserve. Colleagues; former students; girlfriends & guy friends; family who have long since blurred that line between friend & family, as have some friends who’ve migrated into heart-family. I even have friends who’ve become dearer because of our use of technology — a dear dear friend who was once the facilitator of an online book group (let’s hear it for having really read War & Peace!); a high school friend who edited our high school magazine w/ me, and then caught up on FB; friends who’ve moved halfway across the world and still keep in touch.

Each of them is a gift I sometimes question: what did I do to get them, and how will I keep them? And what if I lose them?? Because my friends are my support group. They’re my mentors — I learn far more from students than I could ever teach them. My rôle models — kind, funny, witty, passionate & brilliant in  so many fields. They’re my therapists, listening to me process (re: rant) about the newest debacle in my life. And more yet.

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via 1stw.deviantart.com

Today I spent an hour on the phone w/one, who also happens to be related. We talked about her wonderful kids, who amaze me with their good-heartedness. The young are every bit as kind as their elders — often more so — but it’s seldom as obvious as w/ my nieces & nephews (more on that elsewhere). We talked about her job, and one I’m interviewing for. We talked about what we’d do together if I’m able to get out to see her (tea, certainly!). Mostly we caught up, although we just saw each other last month.

Next month I’m going out to see my BFF, spending a few days doing just that: catching up. Weaving the threads of conversation & shared experience that create friendship, and keep it strong. I can’t imagine my life w/out my friends — how much would I miss! And not simply what they offer me (music, books, art, knowledge of a hundred hundred topics), but also each unique heart among them.

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via google

My beginner’s heart is nourished like some cliché plant metaphor by my many friends. I’m steeped in what they know, what they feel, their travels and activities. Even their griefs. How can I possibly whine about a bad day when some stay upbeat w/chronic pain? Others have lost their life-loves, so how can I kvetch about my beloved’s small imperfections?

When I think of the threads connecting me, through my friends, to so much in the world outside me, I’m struck with wonder: it’s like there’s this huge Buddhist web, where all these folks who exemplify the best of Buddhism (but are Christians, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, Jews & agnostics & pagans & Wiccans &…) link me to their own worlds. Some tragic: my dear friend in Ferguson. Some exotic: another dear friend driving through France. And some only ‘mundane’ to those who don’t hear the happiness in a new mother’s voice, or a new teacher’s excitement.

It’s a kind of everyday magic, friendship. And all of us need more of it. I have no idea what I’ve done to be blessed with my many dear friends, but I’m grateful for each one of them. I suggest you look around you for your own. I guarantee you’ll feel both richer, and more connected. 🙂

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