Night is falling, candles have been lit; the peace of the Sabbath descends upon my home. May the peace of Shabbos fill you and yours as well.
One of the many experiences I appreciate about living in this community is the friendliness of my neighbors. They are here for one another and when I arrived, I was welcomed easily and kindly. It’s necessary when you live in a rural or frontier community – your neighbors are your lifeline more often than many of us know.
When I lived in Butte, Montana, I worked with ranchers in the Big Hole Valley – one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. They are also friendly, kind, and welcoming. One of my colleagues said to me one day, “you must remember that friendliness doesn’t mean friendship.” She was right, I was welcome … to a point. And then there was the barrier that said, no further – thank you. It wasn’t unkind, it was simply true and real. And I accepted it.
I’ve seen that barrier in every place I’ve lived. I’m fortunate when it’s combined with friendliness but that’s not always the case. For someone who’s moved around as much as I have, friendliness is common – friendship is not.
Friendship is a whole ‘nother thing. It’s a relationship when two people open their hearts to one another, one step at time, and reveal their true colors. It’s not necessary for them to be the same, it’s necessary for them to be real. To be honest. To be open, To be kind.
Friendliness takes little effort. Friendship requires more. It requires time and the willingness to listen, to adjust your oars so that your paddling downstream in tandem. When I was in western New York, I taught tarot to a group of women. We met weekly for months – started out as strangers and by the end we were friendly.
I was fortunate that one woman and I began to meet from time to time – for lunch on the weekend, for dinner after work, and our conversations flowed. We listened. We shared. We were real. And now, a few years later, we are friends. We talk almost every week for hours. We share our experience, our knowledge, our questions, our laughter, our concerns, our Selves. She has been one of my greatest supporters and I so appreciate all of who she is.
We are not the same, we are not similar, we’ve had very different life experiences, we want different things in life, have different goals. And yet. Below those things there is a deep connection. Soul connection. That’s what friendship is.
What about you? If you look at the people who you spend most of your time with – are you friendly or friends? How do you know the difference? What does it feel like? How have your friends been a blessing in your own life?
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