I have the best friends a girl could ask for... and I'm completely unworthy of them. I've been trying to finish this post for the past week but my friends keep doing amazing things so I kept putting off. More on that later. Getting back on topic, I have been truly blessed with the people I call my friends. It's taken many failed friendships, arguments, and tears but I finally have the friends I've been praying for.
I've always been a people pleaser. I was a little feistier and a terrible little know-it-all growing up, but I always wanted everyone to get along. Unfortunately, this meant that I would often change myself just to fit with so-called friends. It's a horrible habit I developed at a very young age that became hard to break as I got older. Often, friendships would change me into someone I was not proud of. There were many that brought out the worst in me. Not surprisingly, these friendships happened while I was away from the Church. I call the period between high school and my turning 20 years old my "lost years" because it's when I was the most horrible I've ever been. I lied a lot because I did not trust my "friends" (and had good reason not to) and/or because it was the only way I would earn their "respect" so that they'd leave me alone. At the time, my reasoning behind my actions was "Well, I can't tell them the truth because they'll try to take advantage of me (which many truly did, especially since I was starting out in the biz) and/or because they'll gossip whatever I say back to others (which most did; and a majority of the gossip ended up being false, anyway)." What I failed to realize was that the better option was just to cut these so called friendships off and find myself friends that would inspire me to become a better person. A year or so before I returned to the Church, I went through a process of cutting ties with all the people that had caused me to act the way I did. I'm not blaming them for everything; I take full responsibility for my own actions and will, to this day, own up to everything I did. I'm not proud of what I did and said, but I am grateful that by the grace and mercy of God, I was able to sort of start over (in a sense) and start down the right path. At the end of the "cleansing" period -- which actually culminated with my getting physically sick -- I knew I'd done the right thing... no matter how lonely I'd feel.
I kept, or I should say was kept by, friends who proved loyal and trustworthy and who had known the real me and not the front I'd given to other people. They knew the truth and that's all that mattered to me. Slowly, some of those friendships ended (many had gone down the path I was previously on and/or were unable to give up that lifestyle), but I also gained friendships that would slowly change me into the person I am today. Most of these friendships were made because we shared a common love of God. As I started coming back to the Church... attending Mass, going to confessions regularly, breaking the horrid habits I'd grown used to... my friendships flourished and multiplied. The more in love I became with Catholicism and with the idea of doing things that would please the Lord instead of things that would hurt him, the stronger the bonds with my new friends became. The stronger the friendships became, the better I wanted to be. The first friends that actually inspired me weren't Catholic. They were Christians. I had Catholic friends who brought out positive aspects of myself, but they're all lapsed Catholics (don't worry, I'm working on it. :D). As I saw myself becoming a person my parents could be proud of, and with the help of priests I've talk to, I vowed to never do the things I once did with my former "friends." I could never hurt the people that had brought so much love and understanding into my life. This, btw, explains my hatred of lying and dishonesty. I can no longer lie to anyone about anything, even if it's the smallest white lie. I loathe it! It's like when you eat something that makes you violently sick and you can never eat it again because you know it's bad for you in more ways than one. If someone asks me something, I'll give them the straight answer... unless it's something I don't wish to discuss because it's too personal. When that happens, I just say that I don't want to talk about it because I truly don't. I've become increasingly private as I've gotten older. :D
I reflected upon these thoughts the past week... especially when I saw that my friends, old and new, had begun spoiling me. I had many friends whom I didn't speak to for weeks because they either didn't know how talk to me after my father's death or because that person (or I) had become so busy that emails and phone calls became infrequent. Lately we've all been stepping it up, though. I thoroughly enjoy my chats with my friends during the week and outings whenever we can plan something. I've been giving advice, and receiving it myself, and it's all coming from the heart. I want the best for my friends so I try to help them with whatever they need and it seems to be vice versa.
A couple of days ago I received a card and prayer bouquet from my friend Claire of Musings of a Twentysomething that showed me just how amazing my friends are... and how blessed I am that the Lord has brought these people into my life. I actually haven't personally met Claire yet, though we certainly tried to meet up when she was in L.A. earlier this summer. Despite this we've developed a very strong bond which neither of us can explain. She's also my first real traditional Catholic girlfriend too, which makes things even better. :D Anyway, a few days ago I received my first prayer bouquet from her and members of her women's prayer group. I can't begin to describe the amount of love and support I felt from these women who I've never met. All but Claire are still complete strangers to me, but here they were... telling me that they were going to pray for my father's soul and for me. I teared up as I read their lovely messages. May God bless them for everything.
That was just one example of what my friends have done for me. I thank God each and every day for the people I call my friends. Like I said at the beginning of this blog, I feel like I'm truly undeserving of their friendship... but I am truly grateful that God has brought them into my life. Not only do I have a wonderful support system, many of whom will drop what they're doing if I ever need a shoulder to cry on or a person to rant to... and vice versa :), but I've learned what true friendships are like. Of course God is in the center of all these friendships, which is why I think they work and why they've made me a better person.
Have I gushed enough? lol. I think it's not enough, and I haven't talked about all the wonderful things that happened to me this past week, but I don't want to make this any longer than it is... plus I still have to study for my Interpersonal Communications test. I will hopefully blog about what I'm doing for the 40 Days for Life. :D
Alright, since I've finished novel writing for the day (which also has a strong theme of friendship in it) and since I have nothing else to do... I will go make myself a cup of tea and study for my exam. Hope everyone has a great evening (or day for my British friends :D).
As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!