Some Friends Are Forever.
When the Idea of "Forever Friends" Got Dashed.
Everyone in kindergarten said to each other, "We are going to be friends forever!" And even at elementary school graduation, everyone would take photos and promise to be friends forever, signing yearbooks or giving gifts, promising to keep in touch.
It wasn't until my friends changed schools and I lost touch that my dream of "Friends Forever" was dashed. I started to say to myself, "Friends aren't forever." I may try to keep in touch, I may try to keep the friendship going, but friendships inevitably drift apart. So I was sad.
But recently, I started to have a bit of hope again in friendships. Let me say to you, friendships that are made during a mature time in your life are more likely to be forever friends.
Sure, you may drift apart at times, but when trouble calls, there are some friends that will forever be on your side. Certainly, you may even get into arguments and have times of silence, but a true friend will forgive you, apologize if needed, and become even closer than before after the storm has passed.
Some Friends Stick By You.
Contrasting Bad Friends and Best Friends.
Not too long ago, after my Florida DisneyWorld trip, I wrote a rant-advice article about a bad friend of mine. Unfortunately, these kinds of leech friends, like the one I described in my previous article, will never change for the better. If you give this kind of friend second chances, they end up snatching it up as if they deserve it. And they will start taking advantage of you in return.
But yesterday, I had proof that real friendships still exist.
First, a bit of background. I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I specifically lived in Scarborough-land, to be exact. While living in Scarborough, I met a very unique friend, *Jessica. And I have grown to love and appreciate her. Because I respect her and love her, I won't tell you much of her story, even anonymously.
But I will tell you that Jessica lived a hard life. Still, even as she went through her own struggles, she would always lend me an ear in the middle of the night whenever I needed it.
Since she lived in my neighbourhood back then, we would sneak out at 1am sometimes from our parents' house, because we were both suffering from insomnia. We would meet up at the nearby McDonald's. There, we would cry together, eat together, and laugh together.
There were times where I doubted whether this friendship was for real. But even with some prolonged months of silence between us, we always came back together stronger. We always felt that the friendship was worth holding on to.
In April 2016, I couldn't handle staying in Toronto anymore. I wanted to pursue my dream of living and working in Montreal. With a university degree in French, I needed to pursue my passions.
My friends were shocked. They didn't think I would be gone to Montreal so soon. Well, it was the time of my life, and I had to go.
After moving to Montreal for one year, I kept in touch with Jessica. Although we were physically apart, I felt just as close to her as when I was living pratically beside her.
It's hard to find a friend who knows about all your ugly parts yet still accepts you just as you are.
With Jessica, I felt comfortable telling her all my flaws and struggles, and she would nod her head and never judge. She had a comforting voice too. She knew how to listen well.
I told Jessica everything. Literally everything.
In contrast to *Pinky from my previous article, Jessica wasn't listening to my problems in order to get juicy gossip. Jessica, unlike Pinky, always supported me from a deep knowing that everything I went through was hard and real. Jessica, unlike Pinky, understood my struggles and showed compassion.
True Friends Reach Out in Compassion.
Deep Friendship Has So Many Levels.
The interesting thing about me and Jessica is that our friendship had many layers. Not only was she a listening friend, she was also my "love guru". I went to her for relationship advice and I trusted her for the best love advice on earth.
Not only was she a listening friend and love guru, she was also my artistic inspiration. She loved poetry, and she was a true artist. By hanging around her, I was inspired to write more poems and even perform them at some of her spoken word events. As I went to more of her events, I saw her grow as an artist as well.
I even started sketching more because of Jessica. I didn't know I could draw until I tried helping Jessica with her art projects. Without her, I might not have ever tried to draw portraits or multi-color logos.
I will always be grateful to Jessica, because she unveiled my talent to the world. She would say to me, "How could you hide your talent like that?" Without her, I would have most likely kept my art stowed away.
Not only was Jessica a listening friend, a love guru, and my artistic inspiration, but she was also my mentor. Strange, because I was older than her by 5 years and maybe she thought I was her mentor.
But there were times when I felt weak, and I didn't have the faith that she had. There were times when my ability to mentor was zero and she lifted me up. She taught me so much.
Lastly, in addition to all this, she was my personal comedian. Jessica had the most randomest ideas, if "randomest" is even a word! She could make me laugh so hard that everyone at Tim Hortons would stare at us.
She could come up with some of the funniest ways to tell a story. Man, was she the dramatic storyteller. I could listen to her bus-ride stories over and over and still laugh just as hard!
We connected on so many levels. That is what makes a best friend.
True Friends Connect With You in Various Ways.
When I Saw Jessica Cry.
After one full year in Montreal, I came back to Toronto for a four-month stay. It was a transition period in my life, where I got married to the man of my dreams (who, by the way, is also my long-time true friend). I used this time to try to reconnect with my old church friends since I had only a few months in Toronto.
My husband Brian and I planned to move to the small town London (Ontario) soon, because it was Brian's hometown. For those short four months in Toronto, I did my best to gather my old church friends together, one of the friends being Jessica.
It was as if I had never left. Our friendship was just as strong and we had twice as much fun. We traveled around the city together, ate together, saw other friends get engaged, and supported each other like always.
As August creeped closer, I brought Jessica to Elevation Church, a new church in downtown Toronto that I felt was really impactful and helpful in my struggles. Jessica loved the messages at that church and she came back again and again. I was happy that she liked it, and we spent time discussing the sermon messages after each Monday night (the church was held in a bar on Monday nights).
As time went on, I couldn't sit around living in Toronto anymore. I needed a permanent, full-time job. I was running out of cash and my husband was unemployed too. So my husband and I started looking for jobs. Finally, I found one in London.
After I told all my friends that I was moving earlier than I thought (in early August instead of early September), we gathered for a farewell party. It was on a Monday, so Jessica and I naturally went to Elevation Church together in the evening.
Right before the church service, I got a bit triggered. I won't go into the details but what is important to note was that although I got upset and raised my voice unjustly at Jessica, Jessica stayed by my side. She sat beside me at church even though I barely said a word to her there.
I crouched down on the church seat and cried. Jessica put her arm around me and said in my ear, "God loves you." I nodded and said a weak "thanks". She left her seat, coming back with tissues to wipe my tears.
I touched her lap gently and said, "Thank you Jessica." I thought I saw her wipe away some tears too.
A Friend Understands Your Tears.
Tears, Tears, and More Tears!
After church, me and Jessica walked to our favorite Chinatown restaurant. As the night winded down, I apologized for my little "moment" and she was supportive once again.
I treated her to Vietnamese food, saying with a laugh that one day she should come to London and treat me to food too.
I noticed she put her head down and was fighting back tears.
"Are you sad that I am moving to London?" I asked Jessica, trying to smile.
As I saw the tears start to come out from her eyes, I felt my eyes got watery too.
"You'll come to London to visit, won't you?" I asked, my voice shaking.
"Yes, I will," she replied, looking up.
"It won't be long until we see each other soon." I said, still trying to be strong.
Both crying, we looked at each other and realized how deep our friendship had become.
"Forever" is a Bond that Two Souls Can Make.
"Forever Friends" don't just happen if you go with the flow. If you let life's busyness get in the way, you will easily lose touch. Many friends come and go, because people simply get busy.
Other friends drift apart because forgiveness doesn't take place. One fight, and it's all over. Or maybe they don't see eye to eye on certain things but don't agree to disagree. They let the disagreement win over their friendship, when what they could have done was treasure the friendship more than mere viewpoints.
No, "forever" is a bond that two friends must consciously make.
"Forever" is not just a word, it is a promise.
It is a two-way street that two individuals agree to keep open. It is two souls coming together and never wanting to leave.
"Forever" transcends time, space, struggles, silence, and even death.
I know that Jessica was, and is, and will always be my forever friend. I have seen her heart over the past 11 years since I first met her. She's always been there for me and I will always be there for her. Through trials and triumphs, struggles and successes, we are like two peas in a pod-- totally inseparable.
True Friends Are Inseparable.
The Strength of the Bond Will Be Tested.
As I stared across the restaurant table and saw Jessica's tears that night, I realized the deepness of our bond. Over time, I knew this bond had to be tested over and over again. Whether it be distance, disagreements, or busyness, it was up to us whether we wanted to stay connected, and stay strong together.
Some people, after losing friends or family members, they experience such a deep pain that they no longer want to attach themselves to anyone ever again, for fear that attachment might bring them pain. I don't see it that way.
This is what I see: a life without friends is a life full of the worst pain. Getting attached to someone is not the problem, it is whether you have the courage to stay attached.
I rather develop deep relationships with people and have to say goodbye, than to not attach myself to anyone and never go beyond hello.
I wonder if you have a friend, maybe from childhood or from school, that you really connected with. Maybe over time, life got in the way and you fell out of touch. It isn't too late to get reconnected again. You can always find them somehow-- by email, by phone, by Facebook, or through the grapevine.
If you think a friend is worth keeping, then let go of your fear and go rekindle that friendship. Don't let busyness, disagreements, or struggles get in the way. Although it may be a slight inconvenience to make that extra effort to reach out, it is far worse to lose a lifetime's worth of friendship.
Sure, it may be a risk. They may be busier than before. They may not even be the exact same person as before. But this risk needs to be taken if you want to at least attempt to be a lifelong friend. If they don't return your kindness, that's their fault. But if you never try, you will never know.
Friendship is a two-way street that two individuals agree to keep open. Are you willing to open up your heart and let your friend in? Are you willing to be a bit vulnerable and allow your friend to share with you in life's struggles?
"Forever" is a bond that two souls must consciously make. Are you willing to make this pact? Are you going to fight for this friendship, or just let it go?
Will you take on the challenge and find at least one friend that you can call a forever friend? Maybe they are just waiting for you to call.
I am thankful for Jessica, who showed me what a deep friendship is all about. I am thankful that no matter where I go, or what happens to me, I can count on her.
I hope you find a friend like Jessica, and I hope you will be a friend like her too.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Forever Friends Say, "I Will Be Here For You."
What Makes You A Forever Friend?
© 2017 Skylar Wong