People come and go in our lives. That is a fact of nature. Specially, if we work in various places, our paths will likely cross with many different people, some with whom we will have an instant connection; some with whom we will never have a connection. Some people are those we simply know for a day. Some people might be folks with whom we work for a year or two and then move along. I don't know about you, but I love meeting new friends and I adore seeing old friends.
I have had the privilege of being blessed with a host of friends---from grade school to high school to college, and beyond. I just re-connected with my best friend, Trish, from grade school. As much as people say social media can be all-consuming, I have appreciated so much the re-connections from across my life. And who doesn't want to know what recipes your first boyfriend is now collecting or what your friend of a friend of a friend had for dinner last night?? ;) Seriously, I love it all. And I don't need to be best friends with everyone on Facebook, but I do need best friends. Of that I am certain. You know the kind of friends who are the people who I call when I find out you have a diagnosis of cancer. These are some of the same people who call me if they go through a divorce or when parents begin to pass away. Friends like these come running, either by phone or in person, to be there. Kelly, Denise and Robin are some of those soul sisters for me, but I have many more.
This weekend I had the privilege of spending time with Robin, the first real friend I made at Trinity University. Not only do we crack each other up, but she also happens to be the best friend a person could ever ask for. Robin lives in Nebraska. I live in Arizona. But we made the time to get together in Denver, Colorado for the weekend, and, as always, the laughter began within minutes. The really cool part of this trip, however, was getting to know her two daughters even better. It is such a treat to get to know the offspring of someone you know so intimately. The only caveat is we have to be the tiniest bit careful about telling old stories. Need I say more?
Why are lifelong friends so critical? I truly believe they become touchstones for us. Denise, my best friend from high school,said that to me last year after her mom passed away. She said having a touchdown of an old friend is necessary in times of grief because these people give us something real to hold onto even when we are feeling like things are slipping away. These are the friends who, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, asked if they could donate abdominal fat to fill in new parts. Just what I needed at the time---people I knew would cry with me and laugh with me.
I speak in front of large groups for a living. I enjoy it so very much. I love talking with people about good teaching and making connections with people around the world about education. However, I am the first to admit making personal connections with individuals is what keeps me going. Even in a group of 100 people, it is that individual connection to individual people who make a day of professional development so much more meaningful.
I am teaching an educational law class to 7 really great students in Tucson right now. I told them, during our first class, I believe they will learn quite a bit about educational law in the next several weeks we have together. However, I believe the connections and the relationships that we make during that class will last far longer than the knowledge about particular court cases.
It is for that reason I say those individual connections are what fill me up. After the weekend with Robin and her daughters, sharing a hotel room among four women, I can't explain how full my heart feels. Relationships matter. Don't let anybody tell you any differently. What makes the difference? Being able to laugh together, share new stories and reminisce about old stories, simply feel comfortable in the time we have. To me, the comparison is like a warm blanket on a cold day. That relationship feels so cozy and welcoming.
With whom do you have that cozy relationship? To whom do you turn for the biggest belly laughs in the world? Who do you pick up the phone and call when your world feels like it's falling apart?
I hope and pray you have people, at least one someone, to whom you can turn. If you do, I would encourage you to reach out and call or email them today. Tell them how much you love them!
Happy Communicating and thanks for such a great weekend, Robin!!