Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude always kicks things off on the right foot for me, especially in light of the crazy world we’re living in currently. For today, my gratitude is for my friend Tom B., for the friendship we have and for offering me a piece from his personal life recently that meant a lot to me.
I’ve learned over time that getting to know someone and truly becoming a close friend is a lot more than just hanging out and shooting the shit to put it bluntly. It’s about opening up, sharing from the heart, and at times making oneself vulnerable, especially on the mental and emotional levels. Many of the friend’s I’ve made over the years have come and gone because they weren’t able to open up with me, share from the heart, or make themselves vulnerable in any way. Walls got constantly thrown up and being I’m not one for having superficial relationships and superficial conversations as the norm, many didn’t last. The fact is, I’m a deep kind of guy, always have been, always will be, and I’m ok with that, but not everyone is, which is why so many have come and go from my life over the years.
Nevertheless, I’m thankful that my friendship with Tom has been moving more in the direction of total openness and transparency. The first time I noticed this was when he came to a funeral for a close friend of mine who had passed away late last spring. I was pretty raw when it all happened and somewhat in shock, but Tom came to the service solely to support me and also went out for brunch afterward, which really changed the direction of our friendship to one that was far less superficial. Him being there that day meant more to me than he’ll ever know.
After that, our conversations started to grow deeper and our time on the phone or in person more connecting. It was then I also noticed how honest he was becoming with me and how forthcoming he was whenever I did something that bothered him. So many friends tend to let those types of things slide until they become totally resentful and disappear from my life altogether. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with Tom, as we both have been able to vocalize those type of things with each other and work through them, like we did recently when we had a short period of distance that ended up with us both owning how we could have handled it better.
Last, but most certainly not least, and maybe even the most important piece of gratitude I have for Tom is that he took me recently on a drive around his hometown where he shared parts of his family life with me, including visiting his family plots at the local cemetery. It meant a lot being able to experience those moments of intimacy with him, as I know that definitely was a form of vulnerability for him. There was a time long ago, when another friend tried to share the very same things with me, but I was so deep in addiction back then, that I criticized the whole experience by telling the person I was bored, and didn’t understand why they were taking me to all these places from their past. My insensitivity that day led to her crying and ended the friendship. I learned a lot from that loss and vowed to never make that mistake again. Thankfully, I didn’t with Tom and felt closer to him because of it.
Overall, I’ve seen Tom grow a lot in the few years I’ve known him thus far and I’ve watched our friendship grow in the process as well. While we’ve had our struggles like any good friendship has from time to time, the one thing that’s been consistent is his sincere desire to connect with me, to share from the heart, and to make me laugh, which he does a great job of. And although Tom may deflect when I get too close to him at times, I know deep down how much he truly cares for me, as I for him, which is why he’s the perfect recipient for today’s Grateful Heart Monday.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson