I just finished reading this memoir, Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett. On the back of the book it reads: "Truth & Beauty is Patchett's tribute to Lucy Grealy, at once a grief-haunted eulogy and a larger meditation on the solace and limitations of friendship." The questions in the book about love and friendship are so very intense.
I've been thinking about it quite a bit, especially because I have several students who are in the second grade and I can see them as they struggle feeling like they are not loved. Even though there are broken relationships in their homes the girls still have the idea that getting married will solve all their problems and that only in that way they will live happily ever after.
It's fascinating to think of "the solace and limitations of friendship". When I look at my own life I am profoundly grateful for the friendships in my life, particularly the girls who have been my friends, and I think that I have so much solace in those relationships. Many of those friendships have been rich and delightful. On the other hand, the theme of many friendships has often included questions like "will I ever be loved?" or "will I ever get married?".
I've often thought about how strange the question of being loved is in the context of a friendship. The question of "will I ever be loved?" doesn't mean the same thing as "am I loved by anyone?". That strange craving to have ONE person love you beyond and above everyone else is a different desire than having a friend love you. I've been lucky to have friendships that are deep, comforting, transparent, and unbounded. Having friends can be so satisfying but, for some reason, friendships don't seem to satisfy in THAT way. It's kind of hard to realize that as a friend you are only partially satisfying. It's strange.
Real friendships are gifts and I'm still thinking about the limitations of friendships in light of how lovely they are, I'm still thinking about it.