Good friends are those that can ask you critical questions. I still remember one of those moments. We were getting out of the car. Not at a random parking place, but on a boat from the UK back to the European main land. My friend asked me: “Don’t you just have too many close friends?” My instant response was no. I mean how can you have too many friends? But once in a while, when I sit down in solitude with a cup of tea and write a letter to a friend far away that I wish I could talk to more often, I start to understand that it isn’t always possible to be friends with everyone all the time.
Relationships change, friendships change. That’s okay, since goodbyes and hellos are a part of life. But as much as I accept that fact, I realise that over the years I have probably said more hellos than goodbyes. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the friendships in my life and reconsidered them. Not that I immediately unfriend everyone on Facebook, but I do tend to make conscious choices about who I call, who I see and who I text. But then I start doubting myself again and feel that I am a terrible friend. If I don’t text someone for a couple months, doesn’t mean that person is important, but I just can’t be there for everyone in the same capacity.
So rationally I accept the fact that I can have too many people in my life and that not everyone can have the same amount of attention. Emotionally, that feels wrong. I feel that my heart tells me to always give and always be a listening ear for those around me. Then my mind tells me that’s impossible. Then my heart whispers again to take care of myself too. My mind agrees by reminding me that I gain energy from solitude, so I need to be alone. Back and forth it goes. An endless internal discussion that I haven’t resolved yet.
In the mean time, I miss people. Especially when I am alone. I miss hearing the voices of the campers in the Clinton dining hall sing songs after meals. I miss my parents with their simple acts of love for each other and for us as daughters. I miss the warm, solid hugs of good friends. I miss the laughter of roommates. It all seems to match with that saying about absence making the heart grow fonder, right?
But in the end, spending time in solitude and thinking about who I miss and why, I do get to a certain conclusion. If I tell you that I miss you, it’s because I really do. I miss you because of you, not because of what you have to offer me or just because our lives simply collided together at some point. I have a lesson to learn in not missing people. I have to learn that it is okay not to miss someone, because a ‘no’ doesn’t always mean that I lack generosity.
So I thank the friend for introducing the book Manuscript found in Accra to me that taught me that lesson. I thank that friend that critically asked me if I had too many friends. I thank the friends that I miss when they are not around, because they are important to me. I thank my time in solitude for I get to know myself a little better each time. I thank my time with others, because I believe that a form of true love is an act of serving others. I thank my heart for missing others, because even though it hurts sometimes, it teaches me that I have an intense capacity to love.
So as I am writing today’s entry in solitude and you might be reading it in solitude. You probably figured out already if this piece is about you as my friend close by or far away. I miss you, because I love you.
“For those who are not frightened by the solitude, everything will have a different taste.
In solitude, they will discover the love that might otherwise arrive unnoticed.
In solitude, they will understand and respect the love that left them.
In solitude, they will be able to decide whether it is worth asking that lost love to come back or if they should simply let it go and set off along a new path.
In solitude, they will learn that saying ‘No’ does not always show a lack of generosity and that saying ‘Yes’ is not always a virtue.
And those who are alone at this moment, need never be frightened by the words of the devil: ‘You’re wasting your time.’
Or by the chief demon’s even more potent words: ‘No one cares about you.’
The Divine Energy is listening to us when we speak to other people, but also when we are still and silent and able to accept solitude as a blessing.
And when we achieve that harmony, we receive more than we asked for.”
― Paulo Coelho,