Saturday, April 13, 2013

Out of Hibernation

It's funny how, the minute the weather gets warmer, all things are easier.

Yesterday, I finally caught up with a friend I haven't talked to in ages and ages--as in, last summer.  (Okay, maybe fall.)

I've known him for nearly two decades now, and he's always been a huge champion of my work.  So when we chat, it's a flurry of ideas and brainstorms and philosophy.

We have plans to talk again soon, and perhaps involve food this time around.  Everyone should have a friend who's an intellectual sounding-board.

Today, I'll be spending some time with another friend that I haven't seen in ages and ages--as in, last summer.  She's an emotional and intellectual sounding-board.  And brilliant.  And beautiful.

And, in a few weeks, I'll be spending quality-time with my best friend and her little guys.  Mere words can't describe what she means to me, so I won't even try.

Whenever I feel down about the fact that I don't get to spend tons and tons of time with my friends--the way friends in high school or college do--I remind myself that this is a good thing.  Because it means my friends have rich, full, busy lives.  They're engaged in social causes, intellectual pursuits, relationships, creative projects, travel.

We inspire each other.  What better way for friends to be with one another?  That kind of connection trumps physical presence, in many ways.

And yet, we have to see each other.  At some point, it needs to happen.  And we always make it happen.  And when we do, it's like we simply pick up emotionally from where we left off.  Time has passed, but the years change nothing in what we mean and do for one another.

I've been very lucky, needless to say.

I had another stroke of luck this spring.  I managed to reconnect with someone I met long ago, in the months before I graduated from college.  I went off to grad school and he went on with his life, and we didn't keep in touch.

And that was my fault.  He tried to stay in touch, and I dropped the ball.  It was the result of some serious immaturity on my part, and I always regretted it.  He's a kind and loyal person: people like that aren't easy to come by.  All of my life experiences in the intervening months and years had made me all-too-aware of that fact.

Last fall, I found a way to contact him.  I didn't know if he'd get my message or if he'd want to have anything to do with me, since he hadn't heard from me in about... twenty years. 

He did and he did.  So that felt like a stroke of luck for me, that I was able to own up to my own regrets about how I handled things between us, and that I was fortunate enough to be met with the same trademark kindness and consideration I had always been shown all those years ago.

Regret is a funny thing.  People often say that you should live in such a way that you don't have any--which isn't really possible.  So when you do, people often say that you shouldn't dwell on them, because it won't do any good.

And usually, that's true. 

But in this case, I had a chance to express my regret and apologize, so I took it.  I decided that, if I died the next day, I wouldn't want him to wonder what had happened or what I had thought of him, so I told him.  I decided that, even if he didn't receive it kindly after all these years, I wanted to say it because in retrospect, I knew that he had deserved better all those years ago.

Moments like that repair our souls, I think.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."