Tag Archives: Friendship

Who are your bottle openers?

Churchkey01

Churchkey01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who opened up new possibilities for you? Who pried open a part of yourself you kept bottled up under a tight lid? Who were your “bottle openers”?

Today is the birthday of one of those people in my life.

When I went away to university decades ago now, I was someone who didn’t do unexpected things. I followed all the rules. I was an honour student. I was a farm girl who worked hard and showed up for work early, not just on time. People relied on my to not challenge authority and to colour within the lines. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Then, in my residence I met a free spirit. She had spunk, a strong will and a carefree attitude. Vitality.

My uptight view of life often irritated her. She said to me, more times than I could count, “You have to be more spontaneous.”

On her coattails, I enjoyed many spontaneous escapades. She popped the lid off a sense of adventure I didn’t know I had. Over the years, with a little practice, I have learned to instigate my own spontaneous adventures on occasion, and I thank her as my teacher in that regard every time.

Now that I’m older and decades have passed, I see another side to the story, too. Opposites attract, and while I needed her to pop the lid off my sense of adventure, I think I offered something to her, too. My calm balance settled her from time to time. She helped me to fly, and I helped to ground her.

Some people come into our lives and brush by us without consequence as they pass by. Other people shake us open, and we’re never the same again. I have other bottle openers in my life: my husband, my children, a minister or three, teachers . . ..

Who are your bottle openers?

________________________________

Happy birthday, Janet. Fly . . .

Who are the people on your Swiss Knife?

Here is (yet another) post inspired by my oh-so-inspirational friend, Etienne. I first wrote it in June 2011.

______________________________

swiss-knifeLast week, a friend told me, “You’re one of the people on my Swiss knife.”

I looked perplexed, so he went on. “People carry a Swiss knife around with them so they will have all the tools they might need in any situation,” he said. “You’re one of my tools.”

Who knew that being called a tool could be a compliment?

When people carry a Swiss knife, they forget about it most of the time; they only remember it when a challenge arises. Then they dig into their pocket to pull out the best tool for the situation: maybe a large sharp knife to sever something that needs to be cut away, a smaller knife for the precision work, a screwdriver to tighten loose screws, or a can opener to access nourishment.

We all have a metaphorical Swiss knife, I think.

We carry friends, mentors, and teachers with us unconsciously, and when a challenge arises we call on them to help us through: a word of advice to sever something that needs to be cut away, a hug for the precision work, laughter to tighten loose screws, or a happy memory to nourish the soul.

Who are the people on your Swiss knife?

___________

I am on holiday. If you leave a comment, I won’t be able to respond immediately.

I will resume my original posts on Tuesday, September 3.

 

Are you cultivating a colourful garden of friends?

lynns-flower-garden1I love that my garden of friends blooms with plenty of variety.

Margaret Thatcher passed away yesterday. My social media feeds filled up with responses from my friends. Some praised her highly as a great politician, but others, through clenched teeth, acknowledged her tenacity and strong will, but they couldn’t get past their dislike of her politics.

I love that I have friends—really close friends—from every point along the political spectrum.

Some of the people I love most in this world feel most comfortable out on the far right on many issues. I disagree with them most of the time, but I like that they give my life balance. Some of the people I love most in this world are so far to the left they threaten to topple off the end. I disagree with them sometimes, but I love that they give me a different perspective on things. I have friends who run political campaigns for Liberal candidates, cherished friends who have the ear of Conservative politicians at high levels, and other friends who vote NDP no matter what. It makes life interesting (especially if they’re all in the same room at the same time).

We humans tend to congregate with people of like minds, because we enjoy it when others endorse our viewpoints, and we want to avoid the unpleasantness of disagreements about core value issues. Even our internet search engines recognize our preferences and cater results to suit our world view. It’s easy to get stuck in a certain pattern of thinking.

But that’s not what life is all about, is it? A life well lived involves evolution and personal growth. For that, we need a challenge—something to push us out of our comfort zone. That’s what my many varied friends do for me. They challenge me to really think about issues. They provide a colourful collection of options.

How about you? Do you have a colourful collection of friends in your garden? If not, maybe you need to try a new garden centre and plant a few different seeds, just for fun.