You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Celebrating Friendship
March 1, 2021
by jamie blotske
In the spirit of celebration, let’s talk about friendship! A true, trustworthy, consistent, lean on me, laugh till you cry, answer the phone at 3am, sit in the trenches and bring you coffee kind of friend is one of life’s greatest gifts, wouldn’t you agree? A friend turned family is a treasure and just as a chest box full of gold, rubies, and gems is extremely rare, so too is a friend as described.
All thriving relationships are built on a foundation of quality time, vulnerability, and trust. Without these key ingredients, it isn't easy to form and maintain a healthy relationship. A life-long friend does not develop overnight. Just as a fine wine, friendship gets better over time. The more life you do together, the deeper the roots grow. It eventually leads to a place of safety for each person to open up with their raw, real, and unfiltered feelings and emotions. If you have a friend or two or a few like this, you are truly (hashtag) blessed.
The Friend-Ship Float
I often find myself using the analogy of the great outdoors to explain things. Growing up in Columbus, Montana, we spent our summers floating and fishing the Stillwater and Yellowstone Rivers. As I’ve lived some life and have formed friendships along the way, I can’t help but compare it to a boat (or, as in this case, innertube) float.
Imagine you and 19 friends meet up on a Saturday afternoon at the Swinging Bridge fishing access, each with an innertube, loaded up with sunscreen and beverages, ready for a day on the Stillwater River. The excitement is through the roof; it’s party time! As everyone eases into the water and takes position in their tube, the group begins as one big cluster. Each person links arms with another in an effort to stay together. The float begins, and it's instantly a blast! Cold cans are cracking, laughter is abundant, everyone is relaxed and having fun.
Some time passes, and the group reaches a break in the river. There is now a channel that shoots off of the main river flow. The current is strong, and sure enough, half of the group is sent sailing away. A few minutes later, you find a swimming hole, the perfect spot to pull over for a quick dip. The group of 10 cuts down to five as half of them decide to stay behind for some cliff jumping. The five that are left continue on. You reach your final destination, and the five of you gather up your tubes and hop in a friend’s truck. The truck takes you back to the beginning, where your vehicle is parked. You hug everyone and say how much fun it was. Then you and your best friend hop in your car and head home.
Circle of Friends
From the time I started kindergarten to where I am now as a stay-at-home mom, my experience with friends has been much like a river float. I can almost guarantee yours has, too. As I journeyed through elementary school, high school, college, and early adulthood, my circle of friends was wide-reaching. As life went on, some friends drifted down side channels, some made stops in places I kept moving, and some drove off with other friends. The circle began to shrink. Over time, it has grown smaller and smaller, leaving enough space for a few of my trench-sitting, coffee-drinking, belly-laughing, fervent-praying, fun-loving, treasure-worthy gal pals. They know who they are! In no way does it mean that past friendships are over; it simply means our paths do not cross as they use to. No hard feelings; that's just how the river flows. Often, a friend will pop back in from years ago, and an even stronger bond is formed. On the flip side, some friends were once close and are hardly known anymore. No matter how fast we paddle, sometimes life's current is too strong, and we drift away.
Whether past or present, friends should be celebrated. Each friendship served (or is serving) its purpose and has taught you a lesson, good or bad. Learn from each one and be the kind of friend you desire to have. Take some time this month to reflect on a friendship that meant a lot to you. Send them a text, write them a letter, better yet, give them a call or schedule a lunch date. Without the friends you once floated with, you wouldn’t be where you are today, with the ones with whom you dive deep.
Originally printed in the March 2021 issue of Simply Local Magazine
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Jamie Blotske and husband, Chet, have three small children and happily call Billings their home. She is extremely passionate about the great outdoors. She is a graduate of MSU-Billings with a bachelor's degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership. Her family is currently in pursuit of hiking in all 50 states, and you can follow along on the family blog (thebackpackingblotskes.com) or Instagram (@thebackpackingblotskes).