Preamble: The start of this post was written a month ago, on the plane enroute from our vacation, it was finished this week.
We have a pretty special thing going on. A friendship that came out of the blue. Sitting on this plane, a blanket of puffy, shiny white clouds below me, I have pondered “what is this that has happened?” Here are the words I put on it. This story is called “When Humor Meets Kindness and They Bring All Their Friends.”
I have talked about the Fentons on the blog before, after they spent a week with us in May. I don’t want to repeat too much, so here are the essential story pieces.
Russell’s friend Crystal in Nova Scotia talked about Russ at her riding barn. Carvell and his family were regular riders at the barn and based on what he heard Crystal saying Carvell sent a facebook friend request to Russell.
Carvell had questions about horse bits which he sent to Russ. Russ enjoyed answering. Carvell has a great appetite to learn and Russ loves teaching.
Messages went back and forth alot for two years before our families met in May.
It was early May when Russ and I booked plane tickets to Halifax for this fall trip we are just finishing. We agreed that although the Fentons live in Halifax we wouldn’t tell them of our plans in case they arrived at our place later that month and we didn’t like them.
I am not sure how long it took us to decide we could tell them of our plans but it was less than a day. We were enjoying them.
October 18th – I didn’t get a chance to get back to this until now. Its almost a month later. I have thought about it alot. In my mind I think I have whittled this down to the essence of what I am trying to say. It is to ponder this question, “what is the recipe for strong friendship?” Friendship seems so important to our lives, most of us can’t live well without at least one good friend. I feel like in observing Russell and Carvell develop a friendship I have observed a case study in many things that make a friendship good. Here is the list I have:
-they both value kindness above many other things
-they both practice living with humor
-they are both unafraid to ask questions, they can tolerate appearing to not know stuff.
-they each want to listen, even if they interrupt, they can find their way to listening again.
-they have interests in common
-they have a lot of interest in each others lives and each others families.
-they each have an enthusiastic approach to life.
-they each have spouses and kids that support the friendship
-they are both honest
-they both choose to be positive
As I write all this it strikes me that it takes energy to live like this. How does that energy come to a person and get renewed? As a case study I can say from what I know about Russell that this kind of friendship capability does not come from getting lots of sleep, but perhaps it comes from excessive caffeine and Copenhagen. Certainly Russell is wired to want friendship but it still takes energy and openess.
As I ponder the impact of the list I made above I find myself wondering what happens when two people meet and just one thing on the list is clear. Perhaps a tentative connection begins. Perhaps as time and opportunity reveal more a friendship grows, and starts putting down roots too. I’m saying perhaps because I am no expert on this, I have no TED talk in my backpocket, I am just going on what I observe. What I am observing is that the more boxes on this list that can be checked the more safe I feel in a friendship. By the age we are, having taken some knocks and had a few painful reality checks about the way life goes, well, that safety really matters more and more.
Getting back to our holiday time with the Fentons, we enjoy them all so much that we snuck in visits as much as we could, we had so much fun. Here are the pictures that make us smile and perhaps illumine a bit of what I have described above.