Gonzo from Sesame Street taught us the important lesson of ‘near and far’ years ago. I can still hear his gravely voice as he ran to show us far…….. and near. This weekend in my travels to the distant Australian town of Coober Pedy (2600km) I began to understand the meaning of ‘far’ far better than even Gonzo could teach.
As I spent many hours getting to know my dear friend along miles of straight roads, red dirt, large salt pans, and dots of salt bush I realized that ‘far’ is the distance friendships must also travel. We surround ourselves with people we enjoy. We want to enjoy life with others. Unfortunately, we also surround ourselves with people we don’t enjoy, but only want to impress. Fortunately, we do yearn to genuinely share our life stories with someone. We innately desire to let someone really ‘know us’. We also desire to know another and their actual life story, not the presented social media story. Stories full of giggles, tears, life, and sorrows. We ache to be heard and desire to listen. We begin to take steps toward that far journey. Then we become confronted with the reality that maybe we don’t really want to go that far. We must begin to seriously ask ourselves…. do we want to journey far in a friendship?
You see, like an 11 hour drive to a little underground town in the outback of South Australia, friendship is a journey and not a destination. Having a friend that you can call ‘best’ at the end of age is not the real goal, but in the journey to that destination. Friendships only grow and mature when you spend the time, effort, and long miles invested. What I find so interesting is the lack of desire to go far. Coober Pedy is FAR! Coober Pedy is worth driving to; yes, it is far, but each sand dune, funny misspelled sign, and emu is worth it. I wonder what is keeping us as humans to decided, the journey is just to ‘far’, and quit before we start. What about a long lasting deep quality friendship is too ‘far’ for you?
Funny thing about roads that go far, is that they go both ways. Each of you will share the road together. Each of you will put in distance and effort of the journey. Are you willing to travel that journey? Are you willing to sit and listen for hours on end to story after story without getting to give your thoughts? Are you willing to truly open up and share WHO you really are?
I have many I call friends around this beautiful blue planet. My desire is to take our friendships far. Like my gorgeous friend from college, some friendships will span the decades and will be more than just superficial conversations of weather and achievements. Friendship are there to give us stability in our own lives. It is easy to be friends when you only talk about the good times. Friendships that are rich and productive grow in soils of deep and meaningful life …. dirt; we must be willing to get a bit dirty to grow a relationship.
We sit alone and wonder why we have not connected with other humans on a deep level. The answer is simple. We must be vulnerable and be willing to share the parts of life that are not ‘perfect Facebook selfies’. We need to be able to get dirty. We fear that they will use information against us, and they could, but they also may become a friend who will be there when all else turn away.
How many friendships can you think of right now? Do you have friends from childhood that you still don’t know their hopes and dreams? When was the last time you asked your friend what they are struggling with, and how can you help? Are you actually willing to help or do you just say that to be nice?
I know this unsatisfying life of daily busy. I too was once…. busy. I know there are life commitments that keep us running fast to accomplish all the tasks. Are you satisfied in this short destination based life? What if you took time to journey far? What if you decided to stop. Stop the busy. Stop the fake. Stop. Just Stop…. and breathe. I hope to read this blog a year from now and remember the importance of stopping the busy and the journey of relationships.
Imagine yourself on a journey far. Who do you need to travel with? Who is that relationship you have been meaning to develop and grow. Now GO! Go begin that journey. GO FAR!
oh wait…. You might need some tools.
I have given you these questions before in a previous blog. I give them to you again. These questions are from a group of students who taught me the need to take relationships deeper. Each of you need to share these answers with one another. Be truthful and deep. Think of each answer. Don’t give the Facebook version. Be willing to get dirty! I truly believe that these questions can help you and your journey partner begin to take your friendship….. far.
1. What are you thankful for? Why?
2. What is your greatest dream? Why?
3. What one words defines you? Why?
4. What is your greatest fear?
5. What is your greatest regret?
6. What is your favourite movie genre and why is it so powerful to you?
7. What was your greatest compliment, who was it from and why was it meaningful?
8. How does music effect you?
9. What is a time in your life that shifted your entire life path?
10. What is your most painful moment?
11. What do you wish people knew about you?
12. What is your greatest worry?
13. Who has had the greatest impact on your life?
14. What are your spiritual beliefs?
15. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
16. What is the greatest gift you ever received, who from, and why was it meaningful?
17. What is the most precious moment of your life?
18. What do you still need to learn?
19. What is your untapped potential?
20. What is your relationship with death?
21. If people really knew you the would know that….
22. What does your outer mask cover?
23. What one question did you fear might be asked?
24. Did you lie or not tell all on any of the above questions? What is stopping you from being real?
25. Do you want to continue this friendship with this new conversation buddy?