Friends. We can think of many songs that were written about friends. “You’ve Got A Friend”, “That’s What Friends Are For”, “Anytime You Need A Friend”, “Friends” and “What About Your Friends?” I can name others but you understand my point. I listened to these song for many years appreciating the musical arrangements, rhythms and beats. Today, I actually ingest and feel the lyrics. A friend is a title that I take seriously. If I call you my friend, in truth, I will cross rivers for you. I am going to defend you, love you and be there for you every step of the way. I will celebrate with you, hold your hand and wipe your tears. I am a loyal friend and I have been blessed with some really good ones. My friends have enhanced my life in more ways than I could have imagined. I hope they can say the same thing about me.

There are also those “fake friends” who have slipped through the cracks. The people who pretend to be your friend, however, they have no regard for you or your well being. Those who will betray you at a moment’s notice. The people who smile in your face and attempt to annihilate your character as soon as you turn away. This is one of the most hurtful situations a person can encounter. I have been there more than once and unfortunately, I probably will go there again. It is a casualty of having an open heart. I am realizing and accepting that some people are great pretenders. As soon as they believe they have your trust, they will disappoint you.

One of my father’s favorite adages is “people are people.” There is a story behind that which is too long to tell in this post. I used to silently laugh when he would say this. Today I fully comprehend. He always told me that I put too much confidence and faith in people. He would often remind me that people are always going to hurt me. He would say that I have to toughen my skin because this world is not for people with soft hearts. My father is a loving, benevolent and wise man. He is also very cautious about people. He is a protector, loves me immensely

and wants to shield me from harm. I sincerely listen to my dad, yet I know that I am wired to connect and share myself with others. In order to live my life as intended, I must be vulnerable.

In addition to having had open heart surgeries, figuratively, I am a bleeding heart. I love hard, feel deeply and am passionate. I am an emotive individual. This is not an easy path to travel, yet it is one that I will choose every time. Life itself, the world and people can make us bitter and angry at times. Although there were times that I tried to “harden” my heart, I failed at every attempt. I am not created to live from this space. I cannot compromise my peace and purpose because of another person’s ill will, insecurities and mean spirit. I have been too blessed to allow anyone or anything to turn me into something other than my creator designed me to be.

I was created from love and I am love. This realization has led me to accept that every smiling face is not my friend. I also recognize that these people have been sent to teach me a lesson. My lesson is not necessarily to use caution, but to continue being the loving, expressive, emotionally driven and empowered individual that I am. Inhumane treatment reminds me that I am on the right path because a person’s actions will always expose their intent. I believe that those who are not meant to travel with me will be removed from my life. I wish them well and I still want the best for them.

Remember that true friendship is an asset. Anyone who barters, betrays or makes you feel as if you have to “earn” their friendship isn’t really your friend. Friendships are formed and nurtured. They withstand the test of time. Examine the friends in your life and don’t use the term lightly. Also remember that you have to be a friend in order to one. This is just a piece of Reesie’s peace.