After a couple of hours of standing and talking by the bins, Martin explained that he lived down the street and asked Noah to walk down to his place and continue the conversation. Noah accepted, and they talked from mid afternoon until around 8 PM in Martin's backyard. That day, Martin and Noah had sprouted what appears to be a possible deep and meaningful friendship: They discussed their relationships, ideas about parenting, ethnic backgrounds, religion, spirituality and artistic sensibilities.
Months go by, and their engagement with each other brings both joy and difficulties. They would find themselves to be complete opposites, which posed problems on fundamental issues. Their desire to live life fully helps them move through their misunderstandings, but more will be needed to sustain a friendship. Martin, the Wanderer through life would engage with Noah in "wander full" and "wonder full" ways (Martin writes and plays with words as such.) Noah finds this both charming (the wonderful), and frustrating (the wandering, meandering at times when a path is desirable). Noah is disciplined, precise, engaged and aware. If their friendship is to continue to sprout the beautiful, Martin and Noah-as with any friends- will need to plant the following seeds:
Seeds of Understanding: In the first conversation, Martin mentioned how friendship is about mutuality. In order to consider the needs, desires and expressions of care needed and desired from each other, they must first be able to understand each other: their hopes, vulnerabilities, and capabilities.
Seeds of Trust: Martin has "trust issues," and Noah gets very upset, unable to comprehend Martin's lack of faith and trust in life most broadly, but also in interactions with Noah. The irony in this is that Noah and Martin share the most intimate/private stories about themselves and their families, but when Martin is activated by some struggle from the past, doubt spills over into their friendship. Trust must begin with the self and extend outward. If there is lack, fear will drive friends apart.
Seeds of Joy: Martin and Noah enjoy music, museums, conversations, nature and food. However, Martin's sobriety has become the focus and issues arising due to the sobriety, dominate their friendship. Friends should feel free to be vulnerable, but friends share joy too. If a friend is overcoming an addiction or struggling with a mental health disorder, he/she should ideally process those issues in their support groups or with their own qualified therapist. Emotional closeness and heaviness must be lightened with laughter, good times and breaks from deep discussions about a friend's challenges.
Seeds of Action: Friendship- much like romantic and/or filial love- must couple feelings with actions. Martin and Noah's friendship must go beyond what they feel in any given moment. True friends- especially when it comes to serious issues- are circumspect in the words they say to each other, the ways they interact with each other, and demonstrate beyond words the meanings of friendship, kindness and care. They reflect on the implications of their actions, and as they grow in knowledge and awareness, make choices to support wellness for self, friend and others.
Our social circles, our friends and families can be both a source of joy, and a positive factor for emotional and physical wellness. Planting the seeds should not be a struggle. For the most part, there should be an ease to it. When there are complications-or fruit and nut personalities- coming together, even then, the experience should be one that is mostly positive, uplifting, trusting and compassionate. Anything else, may sprout weeds.