I believe that one never truly appreciates something they hold dear until it is gone. This is the most troubling form of ignorance, and we all suffer from it. In turn, one of the great aspirations of life must be to learn to incorporate gratitude in our actions and appreciate the blessings we take for granted. Such blessings include our friends, the people in our lives that we could say anything to without fear or inhibition.

I’ve begun to realize the inherent nature of friendship. Making friends is not merely a search for another individual you can relate to, but the spontaneous ‘coming together’ of two souls, each walking the path of existence. I don’t think we can control who befriends us. It merely happens. Increasingly, I find myself drawn to the metaphor of leaves dancing in the wind to describe life. A leaf has no navigational capabilities, and so it is propelled into the great oblivion, careening throughout space and time and bumping into its brethren along the way. Many friends are made, and some are even lost.

Unfortunately, the fact that our friends influence the course of our future to an astounding degree is often overlooked. It is nearly impossible for one to live without being positively or adversely affected by our comrades. As we fly along, bumping into each other, our course is permanently affected. Those moments with the people we hold some degree of affection for shape our character and the path we are destined to traverse. If this realization was universal and acknowledged to a greater degree, we would look upon the people in our lives with a newly discovered value and respect.

The ultimate lesson comes from our friends, for they are the very pinnacle of teachers. They gift us with love and kindness; they nurture our hearts and cultivate our spirits. They shed light when darkness falls and the path before us becomes murky. These are our true friends, the one’s we never lose, the shapers of ‘who we are,’ and  the ones who manage to leave a permanent imprint on our hearts, for better or worse.

Taking your friends for granted is one way of suffering. I challenge you to transcend this oversight and bestow those people who make a difference in your life with the respect they deserve.

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