One Way to be Grateful, Part Two: Here's Mine!

grateful-for-friendships

A couple of days ago I shared with you one way to be grateful, by focusing on one true blessing in your life this year and this week giving that thing all the gratitude you can muster.  And I promised I would share mine once I thought hard about what that thing would be.  Here it is.

This year I am particularly grateful for my strongest ties of friendship.  

I grew up close to my very, very large family.  I could ride my bike to my grandmother's house, play with 4th cousins who lived around the corner, or travel just a couple of hours down I-79 to see many aunts, uncles, cousins, and my other set of grandparents in Pittsburgh.  And although over the years we've remained close in heart and keep up with each other the best we can, we have begun to spread out all over the country.  I have cousins in the Carolinas and Phoenix, Indianapolis and West Virginia.  My parents are in Florida.  And as we all know I've been far from home for a long time, in Tennessee and then New York and Oregon.  

This is where friends became so important.  Friends are the family you get to choose.  They're the people who feel like family when you can't be near your real family.  And even now I'm also far away from many of my friends.  This year for the first time, Heather and Carrie and I are all in different corners of the country.  I truly, truly hope that there comes a time we are in the same place again, raising our kids together and sharing gardens and sweet stuff like that.  But even if we aren't, I hope we are able to carry on the traditions we've created.  No matter how far away we live, it's always just a plane ride to be together again.  It's always just a phone call to share a worry or good news or just a "hey, how's your day?"

And it's more than just a familial closeness that makes me thankful for these women - Heather, Carrie, and a precious few others (you know who you are).  It's what they bring to my life.  They never judge but they reflect truths, they are building lives they're passionate about, they love and struggle and make sacrifices and triumph.  I once wrote I look for "strength of character" in friends, and this rings true.

So this year while I'm missing my friends, I am finding so much joy in celebrating them.  Thank you for what you give to me throughout the year, throughout my life.  You are a greatest blessing.

What's your ONE?  Share in the comments below!