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Are you so strong or is all the weakness in me?
2002-07-31 - 4:36 p.m.

A line from Thunder Road keeps running through my head, "You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright"... Please, no speculation as to why, boys and girls...

It is also intermingled with the song The Weakness in Me by Joan Armatrading...

I'm not the sort of person who falls
In and quickly out of love
But to you I gave my affection
Right from the start.

So today the topic that weighs heavily on my mind is friendship. I know, generic cheesy topic, but still a relevant one. I am blessed in my life with so many friends, new and old. Not that this is a complete list, but who could have imagined that Balynar's shadow during my first Gulf Wars would have grown up to capture the heart of my best friend? Several years ago I could not have conceived that such wonderful people would come into my life as Gina and Tricia. I can't fathom how lucky I am to have friends like Bera, Theo, Roland, Mel, Bob and Laura... and blissfully many others.

Of course as fabulous as these folks are, I can't help but think and dwell on the friendships that have lapsed. Some friendships simply fade, becoming only a happy memory of things done. It's great when these are happy unaccounted for fadings... Then it's just nature and time. What is truly sad is when there is a reason for the end of a friendship, or even it's fading if not entirely dissappearing. I guess just like not all marriages last and like not all high school buddies keep in touch, it is only natural for some bonds to loosen and fall to the wayside. Why is it that some friendships can exist over long distances and some can't even battle a 45 minute drive? Sometimes it's due to change of interests. If you don't share the same passions, it is easier to not hook up when your interests differ. Especially if you spend as much time focused on your hobbies as many of us often do. Sometimes they fade based on the feeling that one half is trying harder than the other. Honestly, how often can you invite someone over or out or try to stir communication and be met with silence before it's okay to give up on that link? Or not give up, but quit trying so that it naturally fades too. Do you have to try for weeks, months, off and on for years before you stop? Are you not allowed to ever give up? Friendship is intended to be a two way street, some give and take on both sides. How often do you give and give without ever receiving before enough is enough?

I guess in some ways that can apply to any and all relationships, really. How long do you give your heart and soul to a job without a raise or thanks? How long do you stay in a loveless marriage hoping the other will "come around" before enough is enough? How often do you reach out to try to teach or to learn without receiving any input at all? A Student-Teacher relationship wouldn't survive it. A marriage of that sort eventually leads to divorce. And a thankless job is soon rewarded with employees searching for something new.

And sometimes something adverse happens to end a friendship. Not just a growing apart, but a single disagreeable act or a series of events destroys a friendship. That is the worst. Although this can occasionally be good. It makes you be more self aware of things you might have done in the past, how you might have affected others or appeared to others. Makes you evaluate that friendship and your others as well. Did I give too much? Not enough? Was I a total moron? Or just distracted? Sometimes you mourn the loss of the friendship, sometimes you celebrate in the yoke that has been lifted from your shoulders. Bad though it may be, you are justified in your reaction. These feelings are natural.

So, today I ponder those bonds I see slipping, wondering if I should try harder, or just let them fade. And when they fade will I see them as happy old times, or not look back for fear of becoming bitter...

It's easy to beat yourself up over this if you think to hard.

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