In recent years I have been known to say to my friends: You make my life rich.
I didn’t know that Emily Dickinson had already expressed this sentiment with far greater eloquence:
My friends are my estate.
At my 40th birthday party (in 2008), I was astounded by the abundance of my estate. My yard was filled with people I love, people who gave generously by making food, decorating, setting up the yard, playing music (thanks, Sweet Colleens!) and organizing fun activities.
When I finally had the mic that evening, I shared that I collect people. But only the best quality people.
What makes my friends quality people? They affirm the positive things in my life. They encourage me to be authentic and they share their true selves with me. They practice giving and receiving. They embrace health and embody kindness. They respect themselves and others. They step in to help when it’s needed, when they can. They care deeply about many things, including how to best live life. They know about love, faith, forgiveness and acceptance.
Since that fantastic night, I have added even more exceptional friends to my collection. All of my friends, old and new, are important to me. Each plays a unique role in my life. And none are replaceable, even if the intensity of our friendship or the time we spend together shifts over the years. No two friends are even remotely the same. And because I am very greedy, I want them all.
I’m greedy, but I’m also grateful. And I know how incredibly blessed I am to be surrounded by such riches.
If my estate is measured by the quality of my relationships, and I think that it at least partly is, I am very, very rich.
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C. S. Lewis