Each day of my life I come into contact with others. Sometimes a spark of shared interest or conversation can ignite the beginning of something I hope to call friendship. That excitement and explosion of hope brings such a smile and shivers. It is very much like planting a seed for me though the beginning of something… living.
I have always loved gardening from an early age. It was my Grandfather who taught me to carefully plant and tend for seeds. Those shared and special moments in the clammy warmth of his greenhouse are forever etched deep in what makes me who I am today. I can close my eyes and still smell the overpowering scent of tomatoes and feel the deep and peaceful contentment… but I am rambling… again!
To plant seeds in the best compost and under the right conditions is the best way to get them to germinate. So it is with friendship. It’s an organic thing, something growing which needs tending to.
I am smiling as I write this next part, because I KNOW that there are those who will hopefully read this, and will laugh at me, but in a good way. I am 46 now, but still struggle to wait for seeds to germinate. I check on them each day. I try to resist the temptation to take the cover away in the hopes of seeing something sprouting, but I can sadly be like this with friendship too. I know it takes time to grow something worthwhile, something strong and lasting, but I check and talk to people each day… often too much… and risk of losing their interest in me. Sometimes I simply try too hard, but truly appreciate those who can remain patient with me.
I may be old, but I still have much to learn.
Friendship, like seedlings, needs care though.
when seedlings first sprout, often a gardener ‘thins them out’. My Granddad explained that to have too many all squished into one place would weaken them all. You have to choose the best and strongest and choose those to look after more carefully.
Seedlings and plants are all different and need different things to grow. Sweet peas for example, need a stick to grow around, their stems thinner as they need to be able to contort, climb and grow. Given the right care though, and their flowers have such delicate beauty and overpowering scent.
Once established, and strong, there may be a time when you forget to care for a plant. How sad it is for me to return from vacation and found a plant I forgot to care for before I left. How sad to see it dry and pale. Often I can catch it in time and with some special care for a little while, it can be revived and in time will make good progress again.
I love those I can truly call friend. I don’t have as many as others seem to and we do often have difficult times. I try to be the best friend that I can to them, but I often make mistakes. I never stop trying though. I have lost many friends from my life, those I thought would always be there, and it has always been sad for me.
I will try and fix problems. I try and revive the struggling plants, but sometimes my efforts are too little, to late, or simply unwanted. I find it heartbreakingly hard to accept that defeat.
Friendship is a living thing. Even the strongest ones can have moments of fragility.
Friendship is not a plant though. People can be tended and cared for in much more subtle ways. It doesn’t need to be a deep conversation from the heart which lasts hours into the night, sometimes it is simply asking how their day went. There is much to be said for letting someone know you thought of them in their absence and that you hoped their day was a good one which brought them happiness.
Unlike plants, friends talk. Listening is a skill though. Sometimes I listen too hard and imagine hearing things which aren’t there, but… I promise to always listen to my friends and try and hear what they actually are saying. Sometimes this means me asking them to explain a little more, but only because I don’t want to misunderstand.
Friendship takes time, not only in terms of weeks passing so you can say you have known that person for a certain number of months. It takes time spent with them, often alone, so you can concentrate on them, learn about them and see the things you share and that set you apart.
I have always said that material gifts are not important. For me, the biggest and most important gifts you can give to another person are your time, your honesty and your loyal friendship. For all my flaws, someone who can count on me as a friend actually does have someone who is a friend worth having, I think.
The joy for me, is seeing the wonderful garden of friends around me. Some may have been there longer than others, but each brings a beauty, life… and sheer happiness to me. A true joy which I am very grateful for!
Check on your friends and let them know how much they are loved. 🙂