I’ve found that friends come in layers.

You have acquaintances from various circles in life: the kids’ school, church, sports, clubs, and neighbors.  People that you’ve known forever: those friends you can pick right back up with even after a year’s gone by.  Nostalgic friends: the ones who knew you “way back when” so it’s fun to reminisce over being young and (often) stupid.  And true blue friends: those are the ones who’ll hold your earrings and watch your back when things get real.

I know the whole what would I do without my friends thing is pretty cliché…I’ve said it myself before, but I don’t know that it’s ever resonated with me quite as much as it does these days.

I’ve been walking through the fire, and I see now that it’s the people standing beside me putting down water where I need to step.

Lots of people are reaching out to me in their own ways.  An abundance of hugs, thoughts, and prayers help to buoy me on rough days, giving me strength to draw on when I struggle.  I’m surrounded by layers of friends who care about helping me get to the other side of this mountain I’m climbing.

And then there are my true blue friends.

These are the people who have reached out to me in every way possible.  The ones who know what I’m going through and stand with me through the pain, and the ones who don’t know this experience but have supported me over and over again.  The ones who set their own troubles aside so they could be there for me in my grief.  The ones who encourage me to keep going but understand when I falter, ready to hold me until I can get up again.

The friends who are like family.

I’ve known people who make friends with incredible ease – for them it seems as simple as having a cup of coffee and some conversation.  Making true friends has always come a little harder to me (which probably sounds strange considering I spill my life onto this blog).  Years of life experience have taught me to protect my heart, to take care with who I let see the deepest part of me.  The ones you give your heart to are those who can love you best, but they’re also the ones who can hurt you the most.

My Friend Family is precious to me.  They are my shelter in the storm, my safe haven, my touchstone.  They cheer me on, through highs and lows, and keep the faith in me even when I question myself.

Love that never fails to extend a hand is a precious gift indeed.

My post as part of Colline’s My Gratitude Project.