Just got back from dinner with an old friend. We've been friends pretty much since we were 14/15. It's funny, how the friends who are your friends because they sort of drifted into your life - and you hit it off with them - they end up being your friends for life. I've had a LOT of relationships in my life. Some healthy, others most definitely not. There was an entire year there where I lost friend after friend because of some silly falling out or another. One of these though was quite painful as he was my very best friend, and at times I still do consider him my best friend. I pray for him every day whether or not I want to because he was my very best friend for about 6 years and there's a history there you know? Anyway, that was a rough year. But, in my observances in my many many relationships; I've noticed that when I go out of my way to be someone's friend, often that friendship (for me) does not turn out well because it's not a naturally formed one, and usually (as per my nature) it turns out to be someone who needs my help, so I help them, and then they often take advantage of my good nature, and then, it ends badly. You'd think I'd learn by now not to do this, but then - God says that we should love everyone, and help everyone, so I think in my naive way I thought - I'm helping them right? I know it's inconvenient for me, but they need help, so here I am to help. The truth is that if you don't help yourself first, then you can't be of any service to anyone. That is the actual commandment - Thou shalt love thy neighbour - as thyself. This indicates to me that one has to love themselves before they can love others. A lesson that has taken me a VERY long time to learn, and even though I know it now, I still find myself making the same mistakes from time to time. So, back to my observations about friends. My true, closest, best friends...... they've been there pretty much through everything. I have a small handful of people that I can actually put into this category. Every single one of them just appeared in my life one day and we hit it off in a natural, casual way, and now - I know I can turn to them at any time (even with large amounts of time and distance between meetings) and they will be there for me. I'm really, truly grateful to actually know what a true friend is. You know, many people go their whole lives and never find one person that they can truly connect with. It makes me sad to think of anyone missing out on what I've been blessed with - true kindred spirits. I love you my friends - you know who you are.