Grapple Them Unto Thy Soul with Hoops of Steel
I feel like I’m losing friends.
If my cherished frienships were a cake, they would be the most magnificent, rich in taste, and most satisfying chocolate cake with hot fudge running through it. They’re not just a classy, plain vanilla.
But this cake is already cut and distributed on many plates, to many separate tables. It’s no longer all in one picture-perfect, tiered, exquisite display.
I only have a few close friends my age that are not married or already have kids. And then, those single friends, like me, are experiencing astounding opportunites to travel and work in far-away, fascinating places.
How do we keep these frienships that are so marvelous when we are no longer a block, a short drive, a phone call away?
If we fail to send a letter, a message with sweet and caring words, or set aside time to visit if possible, these friendships become vapors. They exist but not in the deep connection that really makes one feel important and loved. I believe, beyond the extrovert and introvert boxes we set ourselves in, that we are social creatures designed to give and receive meaningful relationships. We’re meant to share secrets, confide and de-stress, and contagiously laugh with others. When this isn’t happening, speaking from experience,
…and any other sort of crippling emotion firmly digs its roots into who we start to believe we are.
One of my dearest, caring, biggest laugh friends finally got her dream teaching job….in Maryland. We have collaborated on many academic projects, co-directed a play, and tried on many atrocious thrift store dresses together [On purpose. For laughs.]. Recently we bonded over our love for the four legged companions in our lives. My heart knows this gal is something good in my life. So, holding her in this special place meant doing something intentional. As literature lovers and to-be English teachers, I knew the act of writing words would be something we would enjoy sharing….have always enjoyed sharing really. [Oh, and we passed a lot of notes in our high school days.] I felt a bit silly and a little bit nervous about proposing to be pen pals….but she responded with an exhorbitant amount of enthusiasm!
Creating a way to sustain friendships that are stretched by distance can be daunting. My old friends have been friends because of some common morals, interests, or hobbies. Rediscovering those can be the fuel that keeps the friendship available to me, especially when I find that either of us need it. But I’m learning that friendships change. Life paths diverge and new friendships are made. The love isn’t lost. It just changes and jumps and skips and gets borrowed or takes over from time to time. The tango friends that I have now are not all my same age but I value them to no end. Dinner parties, travel adventures, and tango bring us together and make age meaningless. I find it to be a beautiful thing when one can call people of all different ages their friends.
I also think friendships are easy to make in tango because it is more than just a physical practice. At Sangha, you have probably heard that tango is about dancing with one heart and four legs. You’ve probably worn a temporary tattoo with the symbol once in awhile. This place and this dance invites anyone to have meaningful relationships with ourselves and others. There’s a reason I – and you- can’t make this dance a beautiful thing on our own.
So, whaddya say? Wanna dance with me?
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel.
(Hamlet 1.3.62-3), Polonius to Laertes