Monday, May 25, 2009

knowing people (part II)

"Knowing people" is not something that happens once and then it can be checked off as an accomplished task.

In some ways, one of the important parts of continuing friendships over years and distance is accepting that people grow and change and that this does not mean that you have never known each other, it just means that you have to continue to discover these "new" things about each other.

New friendships are easy because you are expected to ask all of the basic questions and you get to know that person at their most current state of being, old friendships have to be "re-discovered" and if you cannot take pleasure in the constant re-aquanting and change you will become frustrated and afraid. Being "known" is only attainable to the degree that we continue to be delighted in each other and the ways that people grow and change.

The other day I had this experience where I realized that I had somehow missed my friends newest favorites and I felt really bad. I started to wonder if I really knew my friend or if I was just some stranger who was enjoyed from time to time. Then, I caught myself and realized that the length of time that I've known someone means that at one time I know what they preferred years ago and that adds a type of depth to finding out that today they like something different that is more significant than merely knowing the fact that "this is your favorite today." It marks a type of change that is much more akin to being "known".

When my old friends realize that I like something now that I didn't enjoy before sometimes they help me see how I have changed in ways that I hadn't even noticed. So, I feel a little bit less insecure today than I did yesterday. It made me sad at first that I felt like I didn't know my friend and then I got a little bit excited about how the people we love are always going to surprise us a little and there is always something new to be learned about them. That is so fun!

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke