“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.“ ~ George Eliot I saw this quote yesterday afternoon while going through old files. I had scribbled it down in January of 2012. I’m not sure what prompted me to do so on that particular day but finding it again seized a part of my heart that has been heavy for far too many months. This quote surely fits my friends of thirty some years. Recently I was lucky enough to spend a weekend with them. I desperately needed a sanity check …a place to get out of my head over the many negative events of the past year and a half. So I left Rocket-man and The Poodle to fend for themselves for four days while I headed out-of-town. During the flights I ruminated on many things, as I all too often do…and as I did so I realized that again—for the umpteenth time— I was playing the same “movie” in my head. It’s the particular movie that brings me down and makes me feel small…invisible actually. I made a vow as the flight attendant handed me a cup of lukewarm coffee to not dump the contents of my year into the laps of my dear friends. This weekend is meant to get out of your head after all. Have fun and stop thinking about it all urged my left brain —the supposedly logical side…right? Well you guessed it. No such thing happened. Yes. My friends were waiting for me with open arms and open hearts. I hadn’t seem them for about two years and though we are like family we don’t always talk on a regular basis. So there would be much to catch up on, but I had the entire weekend, I reasoned. So here goes. I am ashamed to admit that the “dump” occurred well before baggage claim, continuing throughout the drive to their house and, fueled by several bottles of wine and handfuls of M&M’s, well into the wee hours of the morning. It was 2 a.m. before my tired bones…and theirs… hit the sheets. They listened, God bless them, and with shoulders that would make Atlas look like a veritable weakling. They listened to the rush of words (sometimes nearly incoherent with emotion) that came pouring out of every crevice of my head and heart. They listened without judgement and with a certain amount of incredulity too over the ridiculousness of some of the events of the year. Now, I know what you’re thinking and perhaps you’d be correct. Did they listen so lovingly only to then, (themselves exhausted at 2 a.m.), fall into their bed vowing to one another, “Lord Have Mercy…this is the last time we’re inviting her!” I suppose I wouldn’t blame them if they did. But here is the thing. These folks are among the rare few that are true blue friends. And, for this here soul that has some deeply ingrained trust issues, that is huge. These friends are loyal, loving, and unafraid to speak their minds in the kindest ways possible. They’re not judgmental. They have no agenda. They have no false narratives. They are genuine to the core. I’ve learned a great deal from them—and even if we don’t always see eye to eye on something I’m ever grateful for a different perspective on things. I’ll roll things over in my head and heart and move on only to be surprised at some other time that my perspective was changing, and they were the agents of it. I’m forever grateful that our paths crossed all those years ago (even with all the heavy lifting work that first encounter entailed; story for another day!). I simply cannot imagine how my life would have unfolded without their presence, indeed during some of my darkest hours. It would certainly have lacked much laughter…not to mention wine! On our last day together I joined my friends at their church service. As I sat listening to the beautiful voice of a singer at the piano, I thought about the meaning of friendship. I used to feel pathetic that I could only count my true blue friends on one hand with fingers left-over. It’s easy to feel that way in this age of social media, where some people, for example, boast of 425 or so Facebook friends or hundreds, if not thousands, of Twitter followers. Well, I’m a slow learner on this journey through life; now I know better. I’ve no cause to feel pathetic, nor invisible. I’ve much to be thankful for and, every day…. I am. My mind wanders to my true blue friends. I send a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness and love to them for sticking by me when things went horribly south and celebrating with me when things went swimmingly well. Naturally, Rocket-man is truest of true. And then there are my true blue friends in Washington State, California, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas. …and a guy in Arizona, a couple of gals in middle-earth too, and even one in the other Carolina state. And, there’s even a poodle in the mix who never fails to greet me with abounding joy no matter what mood I bring to the day! Lucky beyond words, I am! And, I cannot forget family. The Italian side with Big Mac and company. Nor the unbreakable bond with my beautiful purple minion other half, her Master-Mincer (and mixer) hubby and their beautiful creation together, Alexandre-the-Greatest. One thing is for sure: I’m blessed beyond words and I’m ever yours folks, through thick and thin.