Sunday, December 4, 2016

On Friendship

 The reward of friendship is itself.
The person who hopes for anything
else does not understand what
true friendship is.

Alfred of Rievaulx

This morning as I ready myself for church, it occurs to me that today I have friends.  I have people at church who wait to greet me and chat with me just because they LIKE me.  I have friends at the retirement program I attend at Brooklyn College.  I have old school friends in my life now.  We found each other on Facebook and Classmates.  I've missed out on so much throughout the years, and am having fun making up for it.

I've always been a workaholic.  Family came first, then job, and that left little to no time for leisure.  I'd always thought I had friends at work, but now that I've retired, I realize they were just peers, not friends.  Guess I really hadn't known what friendship was all about.  Oh, I don't blame my peers at all.  As the oldest member of our team, I was from another generation, 20 years older than the next oldest.  I had nothing in common with them.  I know that now, but at the time I did and as a result of reading something into it that really wasn't there, I allowed myself to get hurt.  Now, I can understand why they did some of the things they did.

Like the time they were all talking about a party over the weekend that I'd not been invited to.  Yes, I was definitely hurt and allowed it to eat away at me for days.  But, today I understand.  My peer had given a 'sex toy' party and was embarrassed to even tell me about it because, let's face it, would you invite your grandmother to one of those parties?  And, although because I am blessed to look younger than my age, I never saw myself that way with them.  I never noticed the generational difference.  Later she told me she didn't invite me because she respected me.  At the time I couldn't see it that way.  Now, three years later I understand.  Besides, I wouldn't have gone to the party even if I had been invited.  Even if it had not been a 'sex toy' problem because the party was way up in the Bronx, and I never travel there.  

But, yes, being left out really did hurt, but none of them knew how very much.  I had always been the child that nobody wanted on their team, the outcast, the child they made fun of because my dad was an alcoholic and word had it that he went out and got into bar fights.  True.  But I grew up shy and introverted, lonely, and the fact is, when they say 

'Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me'

that's not true.  Hurtful words last so much longer than physical abuse.  Hurtful words can last forever.  They may appear to go away, but all it takes is one incident to bring back all that childhood pain, and that party did it.  I was once again that lost little girl that no one wanted.

1 comment:

  1. Some of the things people say to others, can be very hurtful, Mary, my friend.