Sunday, October 16, 2011

Circle of Friends

Maeve Binchy wrote a wonderful book a number of years ago called Circle of Friends. It was then made into an equally good movie starring Minnie Driver and Chris O'Donnell. Circle of friends- that phrase is stuck in my head today. I attended a reunion this weekend of the adoption travel group for my youngest daughter, Avery. We all traveled to China together 7 1/2 years ago to adopt the baby girls that became our precious daughters. Beyond being amazed at how these sweet girls have grown and blossomed, I was struck at how quickly they bonded and connected. We have not seen one another for many years and in one case- since the trip to China. But this group of 8 year-old girls were off playing, laughing, having "scream offs" and we had to drag them away from one another when it was time to go. I know that part of that is just being a kid- the "hey, let's play" mentality when you meet a new person that adults unfortunately forget and replace with judgement and wariness. But it was beyond that- they hugged and played as if they had known each other forever- which actually they have when you think about it.

The girls shared an orphanage and have common history, ethnicity and similiar stories. They actually have more in common than most of their classmates. I watched them in their "circle" and was reminded of the value of friendship. The parents are part of a circle as well, people who would probably never have met if it were not for this experience.

Think of the circles in our lives and how they change over the years, sometimes overlapping and sometimes fading over time. Common interests, shared experiences and stages of life all lead to the creation of our various circles of friends. Of course, there are the precious friends who you meet because of one experience and the connection is so strong that you stay in one another's lives forever. I have one friend who is living on other side of the world and I haven't seen her well over a year, but I still feel connected. We helped one another through some tough times and I will always treasure her friendship. I hope my daughters develop these friendships- some deep and lasting and some more circumstantial...they are all important.

You always here so much about the importance of family...and it is important. However, so are friendships. I think sometimes that we need to be reminded of the value of the people that we choose to add into our lives- our friends. These connections can bring us joy, support, laughter, compassion and fill our hearts much as family can many times.

Celebrate your circles of friends...or better yet- create a new one!

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