I'm a very blessed person and have a colorful pallet of people in my life I am privileged to call friends. I couldn't say that 10 years ago, and couldn't even fathom the possibility 20 years ago, but something amazing has happened in and through me over these last few decades.
Have you ever smashed a magnet and then thrown the broken shards into a pile of other broken shards of metal objects? You get quite a reaction. Some parts cling together while other parts are separated as the polarizing effects of the magnetization fight for dominance. That was me growing up. I was a broken piece of magnet thrown amongst shards of metal. While there were always bits of metal that liked to cling to me, sort of like that children's game where you took the magnetized wand and moved the black pieces around a huge face to make funny hair and beards, the largest portion of me repelled everything around me. In an effort to put myself together I became coated with superglue, and as a result created a protective shield to keep anything from sticking.
Now I find that I'm made whole again, no superglue and no sharp edges. I still have a few cracks in me, but they too are beginning to fade. I also find that I'm equally able to draw and repel people in my life.
I look around me and see that I'm not just surrounded by like-minded people, or people with the same interests, talents or vocations. Many have differing political, religious and social views from me and each other, but somehow there's still an attraction. I have friends that are actors, writers, screenwriters, Pastors, world-wide evangelists, producers, publishers, business leaders, store clerks, waiters, politicians, activists, retirees, teachers, bus drivers, police officers, community volunteers, aide workers, nurses, lawyers, reviewers, reporters, bloggers, singers, musicians (got a house full of those), factory workers, electricians, buyers, sellers, jewelry makers. I have friends who have similar interests and beliefs, and those who don't. I freely speak, socialize and admire an array of diversity: such as liberals, conservatives, Christians, Jews, Agnostics, gays, straights, blacks, whites, and everything in-between, and much more. I can put a name and face to each of those descriptions and still wouldn't cover everyone.
There was a time in my life when I surrounded myself with only those who were like me, or who thought the same as me - but I found myself most often alone. Friends aren't people who agree with you - they're people who share who they truly are with you. They're not afraid to speak their mind for fear of your judgement or acceptance. That's not a friend. A friend loves you. They don't have to agree with you, they don't even have to believe and have faith in the same things you do. It's not a contest of who is right and who is wrong. We're human - sometimes we're both. You be who you are - 100% honest, truthful and open - and allow them to do the same - and you'll be surprised at how many friends you attract. Enjoy and learn from the diversity instead of allowing fear to keep you in your little boxes.
If you want friends in your life - show yourself friendly. If you want honesty in your life - be honest. What's amazing is that I still believe the same things I believed 10 years ago, but I don't live in a little box anymore and I have a lot more friends. Don't get me wrong - not everybody likes me. I'm as equally repellent to dishonest, angry, depressed and judgmental people - they can't stand to be around me, and that's just fine. I love my friends. You know who you are.
Look around and see who surrounds you - if you look close enough you might just get a glimpse at who you really are, not who you think you are. Now that's a scary thought!
Till next time,