True friendship is simply a System of Reminders.
Across the globe I can see this truth even clearer: a message appears on my screen, looking uncannily like an alarm to wake up for school or a calendar event to take my malaria pill. But it’s a different kind of reminder, one for the voice in my head that is telling me “I can’t do it” or “I can’t beat it” or “I’ll never get there.” Inevitably, that message is from someone fighting that voice, someone bent on showing me compassion.
I’ve done a lot of work to surround myself with the kind of people that will do all it takes to discourage my discouragement, those that will fight with me and for me. With each day, I am reminded by those brave souls that friendship is not much more than a gentle nudge back towards the truth. Like a comfy bed, at the end of each day I can get under their covers and whisper my deepest fears as that furry monster under me feels more and more like he must be real. I can rest in their consistency, waking up in the morning of their truth feeling refreshed and renewed. They squash the demons under the bed with a kind word, with a murmur of understanding, with a piece of advice. Instead of meeting my fears with shrugged shoulders or wide eyes of concern for my sanity, they soothe me with their words of “I know that feeling all too well” or “you’re not alone” or “I don’t blame you one bit.” Their cozy spot is a place without judgment, a place I know I’ll hear the truth even if its hard, but they will be fair to me and kind to me. They are masters of my anxiety- ushering in calm in the midst of the moment’s calamity.
Friendship, to me, is to take scary things and transform them into belly laughs- to remind each other of the good that they are, the compassion they bring, the apologies they need to make.
Gentle reminders define healthy friendships. If I don’t remind a person of their worth, then I can’t consider myself their friend. If I don’t have a place to speak into their messy life and remind them of the truth we hold to dearly, then I’m fooling myself that we are close.
Yet there are those that make this living thing easier, those that hear out my long winded meltdowns and allow me to occupy the heart space I need while declaring over me “you are good, you are good, you are understood here.”
Even an ocean can’t stop their reminders from reverberating.