Andrew and I have finally gotten time alone, just the two of us. We were able to read to one another for hours, sleep in, and make love. It's been so wonderful to get some time alone. And in our morning meditation today, he offered the following thought:
In my friend, I find a second self.
Our mates and close friends present us with another view on what it is to be a human being. In being close we lower our barriers and get a feeling for what life is like from that person's perspective. We develop a feeling of empathy for him or her, and we multiply our life experiences by participating with others.
Through our closeness to someone, we might be confronted by a new awareness of ourselves. We may see something about ourselves we don't like and could never have seen on our own. We may see how similar we are to our friends, or how different, or how common and human our problems are. While each man lives his own life, through empathy we are given another window on the experience of living. Having a friend is a rich experience which increases our wisdom about life.
I am thankful for relationships. I feel grateful that I am not alone.
This really hit me hard today. We have been surrounded by so many wonderful people over the past several weeks, and we are so grateful to each of them for their individual contributions, for the chance interactions, the positive encounters, the extended group vacations. And we've spent much time talking about the positive. So much love has been reflected back to us in so many ways.
But what about the negative interactions? The person who was short, negative and at times, rude? The person who was pre-occupied, aloof, and therefore not present for us? The people who RSVP'd but didn't show? The people who caused damage to our property, offended another guest, or over-consumed?
I'm convinced that no wedding can end successfully without a little drama. That inevitably, we will have a family fight, a friend will get their feelings hurt, a wedding dress will rip. But what do these things reflect back to us?
Could it be that a foreign wedding that requires at least 12 hours of flying causes fatigue and stress? Could it be that being flooded by love when you are in a tough spot in your own relationship could cause melancholy? Could it be that four days with the same group of 50 people might cause you to curse a few of them? Absolutely.
But in each of these interactions, I was reminded of a time when I've acted the same way toward another in my life.
Each time someone was short with me, and I was hurt, I was reminded of a time when I was short with someone else.
Each time I found someone acting selfishly or felt taken advantage of, I was reminded of a time when my detachment must have made someone else feel unappreciated.
As I was being shut down in conversation by someone who only wanted to hear themselves talk and have their opinions reflected back to them, I was reminded of so many times when I've been guilty of the same act.
I sincerely appreciate your rawness, friends. I am grateful for your ugly side. I celebrate your selfishness, and thank you for reminding me that we all have bad days, and that I must work daily to reflect your strengths back to you.