This is the view from Abigail's bedroom in England, complete with seagull family. I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately; illness makes one reevaluate, and appreciate, friendships in a new way. Some friendships that would stand strong against a terminal illness, don't survive the stresses of a chronic illness. A different kind of patience is required.
And for the person who is ill, friends are seen in a new light. When energy is severely limited, one cannot afford relationships that exhaust and do not renew -- even if these relationships were enjoyable when energy was cheap. One's own motives come to the fore, as well. To the extent that a friendship was based on my own need to be useful, helpful, important -- it was less likely to survive my fatigue, which cannot maintain such demands.
This friendship with Abigail feeds me, as do some others, literally and figuratively; emotionally and spiritually. I have learned to pay attention: do I feel better about myself when I spend time with this person? If I'm tired after a visit (which I often am) do I regret it, or look forward to the next one. When I think back on an interaction, do I laugh? Or do I startle awake from painful dreams? Can I freely say "I'm tired now; go home."?
When you are well, you can afford difficult friendships. When you are well, the challenges they pose may even be rewarding. Not that any friendship is without difficulty, but some are more consistently so. Today I am grateful for those who have stayed with me, or found me and loved me, even in illness: Abigail. Niki. Kris. Cindy.
And others. And those who read this blog, and comment even knowing that I may not be present enough to respond.
Thank you all, for these views from my bedroom window.