No, this is not about the Irish movie. This is about having a circle of friends you can talk with. Often such circles are born during our high school or college years, forged by proximity, shared tasks, and seeing people on a daily basis. Sometimes the circles survive graduation, more often they do not. I still have a few friends from my college years, and I value them highly. We may forge other circles based on jobs, hobbies, religion, politics, and other shared interests. Sometimes those friendships survive changed circumstances, sometimes not. It is okay to have temporary circles — you can learn a lot from each other, and about yourself. Change happens, and it is healthy to let go of relationships that no longer work for you.
What I am thinking of today are circles of friends that last, that survive even changed circumstances. I suspect these are rare. I am most fortunate to be part of two such circles, and in each instance those people have become the family of my heart. The first circle began about twenty years ago, and grew out of a shared workplace and a shared hobby. We played role-playing games together, and occasionally still do. Several role-playing wives are part of the circle (I am one of those), and children have grown up (or are growing up) and into the circle. We have learned not to discuss politics or religion, respecting each person’s beliefs and caring for them too much to let that get in the way. We sit around the fire and talk about important things and silly things. We know what we say there stays within the circle. I love these people.
The other family of my heart is where that phrase first came from. We meet on-line, and only a few of us have actually gotten to meet each other in person. Our initial reason for getting together was tarot, and a certain attitude of wanting to learn about life, and being able to share ideas respectfully even when we disagreed. The group was founded in 2001; I joined in 2005. It was initially public, but as years went by and we began sharing more about ourselves, the owner decided to make the group private. A few people have joined since then, because someone recommended them. We do discuss politics and spirituality, but we agree to disagree respectfully. 🙂 We live in different countries, have different jobs, different relationships, different hobbies, different outlooks on life. I have learned so much in our on-line conversations! We share thoughts and funny things and things that make our blood boil, and we ask what each other thinks. I love these people, too.
Friendship takes time, effort, trust, and respect. As much as I am a hermit, it is important to seek friendship; it is how we survive, learn, and grow as people It is okay if the friendship doesn’t work out — let it go without judgment, and be thankful for what you may have learned. Do not presume too much on friendship, because it may not be strong enough to handle the pressure. As cliché as it sounds, friendship is a gift. As 2011 closes, I am so thankful for these two circles of friends, these families of my heart 🙂