I had a wonderful weekend catching up with a dear friend I hadn’t met for quite some time. I have known Anja for over 25 years and during this time, we’ve had phases were we talked very often and then there were times we didn’t hear from each other for months. As we sat in a lovely little cafe on Saturday, we felt as if we had met just the day before, picking up from where we had left the last time we had talked and updating each other about all that happened. We laughed together, shed tears, agreed and disagreed about things, shared our joys and our sorrows – all with an ease that is characteristic of friendships that are based on mutual trust, honesty, transparency, respect and love. The time together was short and yet so refreshing, giving me renewed strength and joy to face all that lies before me.
This afternoon I flew to Stockholm and will be working from here the next two days. Those who know me, know that this city has a special place in my heart. I spent more than half of my life living in places where I never felt I belonged. Then I came to Stockholm, lived here for over two years and knew I had finally found a city where my heart felt at home. There are many reasons why this city is home for me and one of them is the friends that I have here. I have lived in other countries for a much longer time and yet the friendships that I formed in the two years that I lived in Stockholm have withstood the test of time, distance, change and personal growth.
As I have written in earlier posts, a major part of 2016 and 2017 has been a very difficult period for me. There have been beautiful moments but I have also struggled a lot with hurt, betrayal and accusations from people who had been very close to me. It has been my prayer and a conscious decision not to let these experiences harden my heart even though it hurt (and still hurts) me deeply to see those I had defended and supported with all I had, say hurtful things about and to me that were so off the mark. These painful experiences of the past months have made me cherish the friendships that I have even more.
Sitting here in my hotel room with a beautiful view over Stockholm, my heart is filled with gratitude for the wonderful friends that I am blessed to have – many of them here in Stockholm and a handful all over the world. These friendships are the beautiful rainbow in my life; warm my heart on cold and dark days; put a smile on my lips and a song in my heart. Those who know me well, know that I am someone who does not believe in superficial, “happy-go-lucky” friendships. And I am fortunate to have friends who are interested in meaningful and authentic relationships that are also filled with laughter, craziness and fun which is not at the expense and/or exclusion of others. There are phases when we speak/write very often and phases when we are so busy with life that we don’t hear from each other for weeks or even months. Yet these friends are there when I need them – to fight for me when I can’t defend myself; to truly listen even when it’s difficult to do so; to lend a hand, ear or shoulder; to encourage, carry and lift when I am down.
This post is just a short note to the wonderful friends that I have and I trust you know who you are : thank you for the fun and laughter; for never taking me for granted; for the values and ethics that we share; for walking the talk; for your unconditional love, support and encouragement. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better human being and a true friend. I am truly blessed by your friendship and so thankful that God brought you all into my life 🙂