Here’s the thing about my friend Maggie. She is supremely confident.
She came to stay with me a couple of weekends ago because her human (cats do not have owners) was away overnight. She spent the evening curled up on my dining chair, dozing, while I, as usual, spent the evening at my desk, writing. She stayed there as I prepared for bed; it was only when I was actually in bed, moving downwards into sleep myself, that she left her chair and came to snuggle in under the covers with me. Purring. Tucked in safely under my chin, my arms around her. Comforted and loved and warm. We both fell asleep soothed by touch and secure in love.
And that’s a fairly major difference (apart from the obvious: I don’t have four legs, triangular ears, a tail, and fur) between me and Maggie: it doesn’t even occur to her that she might not be welcome in my life. It wouldn’t cross her mind to think, “well I’m lucky enough to be on the chair, I won’t push my luck to jump up onto the bed, what if Naomi doesn’t want me there?” The idea that the love she shares with her human friend might be rejected wouldn’t enter her thoughts.
That’s something I need to learn from. I have incredible friends, friends who show me love, friends who have been light and strength for me. Friends who like me and enjoy my company, even if I can’t quite work out why (I’ve given up trying to answer that question). Friends I love with all my heart, for whom I’d walk through fire without a moment’s hesitation. And yet the idea of ringing one of them and inflicting my company on them – well, if the idea that she might not be welcome wouldn’t enter Maggie’s head, the idea that I might be welcome feel quite foreign in mine. I jump at the opportunity to spend time with my friends – when that opportunity is offered by them; I struggle with the idea that they might want to spend time with me.
I think it probably does me a disservice. I certainly know that it does my friends a disservice. And it’s not about them proving themselves, verifying that they are my friends. If it was ever about that, they’ve proved their friendship, well and truly. There is no way in which I could doubt the strength of the friendship that these wonderful people offer me.
My friends don’t have to prove themselves to me. I have to prove myself to myself. Prove to myself that I’m worth that friendship. That I’m worth loving and spending time with. That, like Maggie, the love I have to share is worth something and won’t be rejected.
I’m not quite sure yet how I do that. I guess, like everything, I will grow into it; I will heal into it. I do know, though, that it’s important learning that I have to do. That knowledge might just be enough to be getting on with for the moment.