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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

A Sheltering Tree

Updated: May 5, 2020

One of my mother’s favorite sayings – everybody’s different – illustrated her attitude of openness and affirmation. What is important to people varies, of course, considerably. But there is one item that generally ranks high among all.

Almost all surveys of people’s values result in friendship ranking in the top five, and often the top three. (Health and family frequently make up the top two.) Friendship . . . check Google for quotations and one will be bombarded with zillions. If friends really are that meaningful, it behooves one to attend to them with care.

There are levels or degrees of friendship, but close friends are the ones that have the most impact on our lives. While one might have a plethora of acquaintances and casual friends, really close friends will be necessarily limited. The reason for this is that to cultivate and pursue a close relationship takes TIME . . . and every person only has so much of it. Which means everyone makes decisions about with whom one feels genuinely drawn to spend that time . . . and then spend it. Too often we think of someone as a close friend and yet spend little time and effort on the person. Perhaps that means rethinking the relationship.

One of the zillion quotes: the 19th century English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, wrote: Friendship is a sheltering tree. Indeed, it is! A welcoming, even life-saving one. Who is there to be that tree for me? For whom am I that sheltering tree? If friendships are that important, these questions are extremely relevant.

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