I caught up with a friend today, or rather we both spoke in half sentences as he answered work emails and I shared what was happening in my life in vague platitudes. To be honest, it wasn’t a great moment for connection or conversation. It was a great moment to remember that sharing these experiences side by side is a different type of relating.
We were not coming together to better understand one another or even to provide insight, we simply missed one another and wanted to share the comfort of having a dear friend by our side, even as we each went about our separate lives.
It felt good to simply co-exist with a trusted friend. In that conversation we each gave the level of focus that we were equipped to give and mutually respected each other’s boundaries. Many of us are already operating at max-capacity so carrying the burden of another person’s troubles may be too much. So too can the emotional investment of re-hashing our own challenges feel overwhelming. But there is comfort to be found in the simple sharing of a moment with a friend.
It was like doing homework at the same table again, familiar, comfortable, and easy. There was no pretense and no effort made to impress or guide the conversation toward some goal or purpose – we were together and that was enough.
He had to wrap the call early in order to handle a work emergency. I was grateful as I needed to empty a gallon of pond water from my toddlers boots and redirect him to the tub. We both knew that each of us was giving full attention to the priorities of the day but also making space to share our day with each other.
More than anything this conversation made me proud of us. Proud that we have such a sturdy relationship that is not based on this moment, or this one conversation. It is a dance we’ve been doing for nearly 20 years – nurturing one another and our relationship through countless ups and downs. Trusting that when the time comes for us to support one another we will arrive with hearts open and be there for each other.
I am also grateful that we make a point to take the call and catch up, even if the interaction is brief. It is wonderful to be fully present and focused on the situation you are in and the person you are with, of course. But that isn’t always reality, reality is sometimes managing chaos while juggling responsibilities. Much of life has slowed down due to COVID, however it has also sapped our emotional energy. Sharing what we have to give with the people we love is always a gift and it is something I am truly grateful for today. Sometimes just going through life together is enough.