Year of friendship – I hope

Year of friendship – I hope

Ask me to come up with one positive from 2020 and it’s going to take me a good long while to answer. Sure there were some fun times, laughs and smiles, but for the most part the year was one to forget.

It wasn’t just about COVID-19 and being forced to live in a way that I never wanted. It’s more than seeing new friends suffer the physical effects of the coronavirus and the emotional toll we all faced. It wasn’t just missing out on all the things life has to offer that we took for granted until we couldn’t do them anymore. It was those things and so much more.

One of the most painful parts of the year was coming to the realization that the friends who got me through my youth and young adulthood are no longer here. Not literally, although I have lost a few over the past several years. These friends have grown distant, in part because I moved. But the bigger reason is as I have struggled through internal battles I have pulled away from many people that once meant a great deal.

At a time when I should have been relying on those closest to me, I went through the journey almost alone. I was embarrassed that I was not the person I appeared to be on the outside. I was ashamed that I wasn’t as strong as some thought I was. I was scared that others would see me as weak. At the end of the day, I just didn’t want anyone to know what I was going through, so I traveled alone.

I know that many of those friendships may never be repaired. That is the result of the choices I have made and I have to be willing to accept that. I am hoping some of those dear friends are waiting for me to reach out and will embrace me when I do. And believe me, I want to do so — and I need to. I never once took my friends for granted; I just didn’t want them to think of me as something other than the person they remembered.

So as we limp into 2021 still facing a great deal of uncertainty and pain, I am going to see what I can do about being a better friend — a better friend to those who have been with me in the past and to those I have yet to meet. The year ahead will be difficult. There is still a great deal of unknown in what lies ahead, but I am ready to press on — this time with more people along on the journey. I certainly can’t promise to be strong, brave or transparent but going to try to do better than what I have done of late. Praying and hoping that all of us will have a better new year — one filled with love and friendship.

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