Saturday, December 5

“When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.” Japanese Proverb

I have some truly remarkable friends, and when I say that I’m also pleased to count my family among them. I’m not sure this is an accurate reflection of my character, but if it were the best measure, I’d be full to the brim.

I’m not talking about the kind of friends that are just kinda fun to hang out with, although they are. Or the kind of friends that are fun to get my drink on with, although they are (on the rare occasion that we are moved to do so). Or even the kind of friends that are there to let you vent and bitch and moan occasionally, although they are.

I’m talking about the kind of friends that will extend themselves and make sacrifices to support me and help me achieve things that would, simply put, be impossible without that help. And the kind that will let me do the same in return.

Our society, by and large, measures wealth the old fashioned way – by what we earn, what we own, what we wear and what we accumulate. We are reminded from time to time, through the odd emotional commercial from the Mormons or a nice card that someone gives us or a motivational poster, or maybe even some twit that likes to post quotes, that there are other things in this world that make us wealthy, but it’s the monetary message that takes up most of the social bandwidth. But I like to remember that it’s my family and friends that are my real wealth.

Friends are a currency that never devalues based on market conditions. In fact, they appreciate when things are at there worst, providing a reserve of security that cannot be measured. And in times of plenty or poverty they are the ultimate entertainment and resource. They help us laugh and cry, they keep things in perspective and keep us grounded, or they inspire us to dream and reach for lofty goals. They help us measure the passage of time and the ways in which we grow and change, and chuckle with us when we realize that we’re moving backwards in stead of forwards, then support us when we make the changes that we need to turn things back around.

I’ve never kept many friends, preferring a few that I could trust and love for a lifetime to a plethora that drifted in and out of my life like leaves with the changing of seasons. If the Japanese proverb is correct then I have to assume that I’ve made some progress on pursuing a solid foundation to my character…

…because the friends I have are phenomenal.

Go me.

Do you have friends that will go to the wall for you? You don’t need to (shouldn’t) mention names, but if you do have them, how have they made an impact on your life? And are you thankful for them? J