So the last couple of months have turned out to be a whirlwind for me. Some of the air currents have been warm and pleasant and some have been incredibly cold and biting. But the end result was that I got married to the love of my life. I couldn't have survived all the ups and downs of this adventure without my dearest friends. As I thought about packing up my life to start a new one, I thought about what were my greatest treasures in my house and how I would care for them in this move. I began to realize that among those things I valued the most is my extensive shoe collection. Now to my usual readers this should come as no surprise as the revelation wasn't a huge surprise to me. What did surprise me was that on further reflection I realized that the way I select and care for my shoes is almost a metaphor for how to create and maintain friendships.
Now hear me out on this one; I promise I didn't lose my marbles in the move. In fact quite the contrary. It has given me far too much time to think. So to my metaphor. Lets start with the extremely obvious fact that I have tons of shoes. Anywhere I go I always have my eyes open for something new, something unique, something special to add to my collection. I pick my friends the same way. Any time I end up in a new situation, I always have my eyes open for new people to add to my acquaintance. But being a slightly eccentric and artsy soul myself I look for the slightly outré and unique in my friends. I think of it as the mixing patterns of life. Think of it as me being a pair of leopard heels and my friend as a floral skirt and together we make the world more interesting and beautiful.
Now having as vast a collection of shoes as I do, it is physically impossible to not have some that are at least somewhat similar. But though similar maybe in style or color, no two pairs are alike. Each one serves a different function in my wardrobe and each one holds a different place in my heart. My friends are exactly the same way. Though some may share preferences or hobbies or characteristics, each one of them is intensely unique. Each one has a different story to tell about their life and how they became the person they are today and each one has a different impetus that caused our lives to collide and each one has a different role to play in my story that is still unwritten. Some are the sky-high platform heels that get brought out when you've had a bad day and you need to remember why you're in love with your life to begin with. Some are the trusty pumps that you wear to work every day and yet never manage to tire of their constant presence in your life. And some are the artsy pair that never seems to quite fit with any outfit yet manages to make each one look better and stand out.
After all this I began contemplating how I take care of my shoes. Since I'm so fond of all of them, I would really like to keep them around for a long time since their uniqueness makes them irreplaceable. I feel the same way about my friends. My girls that have been with me through the sunny days and the rainy ones are the girls that I plan on keeping around me forever and introducing to my children as the examples of genuineness that is nowadays hard come by. But just as all of my shoes aren't made of the same materials, so my friendships are built on different memories and circumstances. So the suede ones have to be handled with care and kept out of the rain, so the sensitive souls must be loved on more and told the truth with care and compassion. The patent leather ones however let everything roll off their toes and are always ready to be of service. Just as each material requires a particular type of maintenance so each friendship requires a different type of care particular to the disposition of each.
As dearly as I love my shoe collection and much as I reply upon them to complete and vary my wardrobe, I realized how much more I love my friends and reply on them to complete and my life and to keep it interesting. Though I know everyone is partial to their own friends and family, I feel that I am indeed blessed with the most wonderful friends who have become my family and mean the world to me.
"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart." - Eleanor Roosevelt
"The only way to have a friend is to be one." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Friends are like shoes, some loose some tight, some fit just right, and they help us as we walk through life."