Sunday, January 8, 2017

Friends Of The Ages

I have collected a series of advisory posts I wrote for my friend Charynn McCurdy here, because I thought I did rather well in putting together my disparate memories of lessons learned, but more because I wanted to retain easy access to my interactions with my friend.

I have had many acquaintances over my 63 years of life, but not that many friends, and of those never a friendship so unlikely seeming at first glance. What does a man nearing retirement age have in common with a teenage girl (beyond the obvious source of attraction - I'm old, not blind, and Charynn suffers not at all in the attractiveness department, but that's still not it) (really :)) (Ok, that's still not ONLY it, alright?) (Jesus Tits!)? Turns out, the differences in her and my individual assumptions makes the least consequential of our statements or beliefs shared with each other into a journey of mutual discovery, and our truly consequential revelations into shared confessionals that armor us from our personal demons and doubts (I hope they do for her too). Or perhaps this is only evidence of why my friendships have been so few, because I imbue them with over-much meaning and significance.

Every question we ask, every statement we declare, every opinion we assert to each other, in every aspect of our lives, all are influenced by and bounded within our assumptions. The unspoken, indeed too-often unasked and unquestioned, beliefs and ideas that guide how we construct our understanding of life and each other. The unquestioned assumption that right-and-wrong = good-and-bad, that truth = justice, that faith = fact. Charynn and I steadily discover that we share a belief in so many things, agree on so many different conclusions, but that we arrive at these shared convictions by means of completely different assumptions.

Do friendships go somewhere? People so often say, "Our friendship has gone ...", and then recite a time travel itinerary. My friendships seem to abide instead, the few recognizable landmarks in my passage through life. We all move on, of course, inevitably apart if history is any judge. And that's probably both good and natural, if more than a bit lonely. Experience changes our assumptions, obligations change over time, commitments tend to compete for our individual time and other resources; perhaps it's only healthy that we gradually withdraw from interaction with our friends over time. Or, perhaps it's a consequence of having over-many shared assumptions in the beginning?

Perhaps Charynn and I will be able to make the time together to discover how that question gets answered.

I hope so ...

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