I’ve been on this earth for close to half a century now. I don’t feel that old. I don’t think I have a lot to show for that much time.
Bur recently while out with a new friend, it occurred to me that what I do have is a pretty great collection of people. Some around since college or shortly after, some found during these 21 years at the bar, some brand new.
I don’t have a wide variety of experiences – same job for 26 years, bar owner, hardly any travel. So it’s fair to say that a large part of who I am is shaped by the people around me. The ones I’ve known forever, who I can talk to without words, whose history I share, whose families I consider friends as well. The ones who have worked for us at the bar and became part of the Roanoke family. The ones we met when The Girl was in kindergarten and have held tight to ever since. The shiny new ones I am discovering.
These people lift me up. They let me feed them and endure my snarkiness and purse addiction and messy house. I take joy in their joy and feel their sadness. They are mine.
Of course, things change. Friendships sometimes just fade away without a reason – life gets in the way, it was only a slight acquaintance…but sometimes, it’s more than that and it hurts. They aren’t who you thought they were. Sometimes, it can be fixed. Sometimes not. Then the spot that person held in your heart is jagged and empty for a while, maybe a long time. Slowly it fills in, a little scarred and thicker. The walls grow higher and the gooey center is even harder to reach.
That used to be the way of it, anyway. I mourn the loss of a friend, to be sure, but now I can let it go. I see the value of even that failure and heartache. I see that it’s just part of the patchwork of my life and heart. Someone once told me that one day I would thank a person who had hurt me. I laughed. I could never see that happening. But I get it now – the dark spots make the bright ones so much brighter. The scars give my heart texture and depth.
I am grateful every damn day to my friends for the shine they bring to the dark places. Wanted you to know.