Something possessed me (ooh, paranormal~) to open the drawer in my desk and rifle through the letters and cards I’ve deemed worthy of keeping over the years. These were mostly restricted to the very recent past, but already I found it hard to relate. Just last year I was babied by my same-sex class that was 4K; just last year I was touched by a very special effort to make my sweet sixteenth sweet. This year I’m hurled into the deep end like the rest of us and already I’m finding it hard to float. The same friends I’d sworn as brudders4lyfe (in not quite the same terms but essentially identical in meaning and effusion) I know acknowledge politely with little waves or nods of the head.
There is value in the printed missive that someone too used to SMSes and MSN can never begin to comprehend. Even emails recede into the bowels of your 7gb inbox with the natural ebb and flow of inboxes; SMSes are even more temporary, their existence bound and limited by arbitrary inbox capacities. The tactile and material nature of a letter, or a card, is therefore much welcomed in a world of byte-sized messages girdled by word- and character-limits (tweet tweet?). It also means that the feeling embedded in the message is immortalised, regardless of any present circumstance to the contrary. Because there was effort and discernment in writing a particular card or note, these will be made evident for the entirety of the card/note’s existence.
In my life I’ve been blessed with many friends who’ve given me much more than I could ever hope to repay. I’ve had a party thrown for me, a giant handsewn doll, many unguarded and generous prayers and prophecies, or maybe the mere gifts of time and company which I value more than most other presents. Sometimes I deem myself lonely, but then when I consider the effort (or lack thereof) I put into relationships of any sort, I realise that I could never have been less alone, and the Lord’s providence is such that I have never truly been “in want”.
As aforementioned, I see that some of my benefactors are irrevocably estranged from myself and that I can never hope to repay the debts I owe without first facing up to several extremely awkward and painful barriers (which I’m too pussy to be capable of doing so in every single circumstance), so the one thing I can do is to pay it forward – I shall tell the friends I still have how much they mean to me, and hopefully I’ll be able to do something nice for them this season. I used to be afraid of giving unreciprocated gifts or notes but reciprocity should be of secondary concern if our intentions are pure. There’s no shame in giving someone something and not receiving something in return. Friendship is occasionally a wondrous simultaneous convergence of souls, but it needn’t be and it rarely is. Sometimes you’ve got to chip away at it, slowly and artlessly.
I hope you liked this post. It’s slightly faggier than average but I mean every word. So, time to stop pretending that the friendships that have mildewed and mouldied don’t matter anymore! There is the amplified risk of rejection that comes with effort, but there is also something very admirable about people taking this risk. It’s almost like watching an obese guy stuffing himself with Big Macs, knowing that he’ll meet an inevitable greasy end but still respecting his foolhardiness – except it’s far more respectable.