Thoreau noted that, ‘the language of friendship is not words, but meanings’.
- I don’t remember birthdays.
- I don’t remember anniversaries.
- I always go for the funny cards, if I happen to actually get a card for something.
- I give practical gifts, not thoughtful ones.
- I am nearly always distracted.
- I forget to do things, a lot.
The last two are the most annoying to me as they are the latest comers to the thoughtless game. They are the result of long and emotionally and mentally draining weeks that leave my mind twisted as a plate of spaghetti.
That isn’t my friends’ fault, but they are the ones that get the short shrift. Life isn’t fair.
Marsha Linehan is the creator of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). One of the tenets of DBT is something called ‘radical acceptance‘: accepting life on life’s terms and not resisting what you can not or choose not to change. She is fond of saying that suffering is optional, pain is not.
It pains me that I am not the friend I want to be to those I care about.
Since there are some aspects of my situation that I can do nothing about, such as having to work and needing to be present when I am at work, there is a lot that I can not change in my situation. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make an effort:
- better boundaries on work time vs. home time and making the effort to leave after 8 hours.
- improve self-care via taking time for a good lunch, not eating sugary or carb-laden snacks and exercise
- write myself notes or set alarms to do the thoughtful things I think about and then forget to do
The friendship I share with those few close to me is treasured. I’m pretty sure they know this and accept me as I am, but I do want to be a better friend.
So, to the sketch: I chose to sketch a cloudscape from the recent trip A.D. and I took to Milwaukee. We were headed to the hotel and the sky was just crazy with pinks and crazy clouds and two buildings that shone on the horizon like giant mirrored cubes. It was fantastic!
Then, as Ashley and I were on our weekly walk, the dichotomy between the blue sky over the river and the deep, dark gray of the looming clouds was impressive.
I wish I could draw the scenes better, but there we go back to radical acceptance: it is what it is.