a one-sentence toast
I'm back from the Mom 2.0 Summit. It was the tenth time my friend Laura Mayes and her co-founder Carrie Pacini hosted the annual conference, and as always (I've been to 9 of the 10 conferences, so I know of what I speak), it was a rousing success. The speakers (Debbie Allen, Kristen Bell and Brené Brown) were incredible; but even more lovely was reconnecting with friends that I hadn't seen in a long time, and making new friends in the process. So incredibly lovely.
While I was there, I was able to do some fun work, including being a guest on the podcast of my friends Kristen Howerton and Sarah James, Selfie. (I'm not sure exactly when the episode will air, but of course, I'll let you know as soon as it does). The topic of this particular episode was friendship, and we had a wonderful time unpacking what friendship is: how to identify a true friend, and how to know when a friendship has reached its end. At one point, Kristen asked me the following question:
"What advice would you give to someone who doesn't have a close circle of friends, and wants to create one?"
This is such a tough question. I stumbled over my answer, finally landing on something that was vaguely about the inability to hotwire connection, but the question has stayed with me. How do you develop a close circle of friends?
Yesterday, twenty-four hours after I returned to Houston, a friend told me a story of a wedding he attended, where at one point in the evening, he was lucky enough to witness a one-sentence toast. The toast, he said, was everything he knew about love and friendship, and it was this:
Let the more loving one be me.
The toast was given in the context of a marriage, but I couldn't help but think that it applied to friendships, too. And it made me think that perhaps, while it's important to consider that types of people you choose to befriend (ensuring they're honest and honourable and kind and reflect any additional traits that you value in a friend), once you've identified the person, it's more important to be the more loving. To enter into the friendship without any expectation of reciprocity. This isn't to say, of course, that you should continue to give and give and give to someone who doesn't treat you with kindness; but maybe, by choosing to be kind to a person who is worthy of your friendship -- and doing so simply for friendship's sake -- that person will naturally strive to be the more loving person back, similarly without expectation of reciprocity from you.
Something like that, anyway.
Yesterday, I took a quick hike back to our house -- or the land where our house used to be, anyway -- and discovered that while I was traveling last week, the framing for our foundation was erected on our land. I can't tell you what an amazing feeling it is to see it -- it's the first tangible evidence we have of real progress toward our new home. I was filled with so much gratitude, because here's the thing: we wouldn't be this far if it weren't for the dozens and dozens of friends who made it their intention to show us love after the flood, without expecting anything in return. The reason that we were able to focus on what we needed to do over the last eight months is because of the many wonderful folks in our lives who seemed to just innately know when to step in and show love, even when we didn't ask for it, and give us what we needed, even when we didn't know for ourselves. I think back to those weeks after the hurricane, and there were so many people who offered us specific assistance, in ways that we hadn't even considered we needed, and yet so desperately did. For the last eight months, there have definitely many folks around us who were definitely "the more loving."
And as I turned to walk back to our apartment, I decided that it was time to be "the more loving" back.