I believe that sometimes you have to step back in order to realize how valuable something is. I realized this a few weeks ago while talking on the phone with my best friend, Nicole.
I have known Nicole from infancy, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We each developed our own personalities, but managed to stay the best of friends. After awhile, though, I began to focus on her flaws, and they really got to me! I found problems in her every move. Her blaring alarm would wake me up two rooms away. Her picky appetite made choosing a restaurant a nightmare. Eventually even the little, meaningless habits got to me. Her obsession with rolling up her jean cuffs drove me insane. She wrote painfully slow. My constant nagging at her to change began to take a toll on her. She saw no need to change her ways to make me happy, but I knew she was beginning to feel like I didn’t love her as deeply as I should have. I envisioned our friendship as a flower, and with each remark I threw her, a petal blew off and was lost forever. Soon the flower would wither and die.
Nicole’s decision to move to England was difficult for me. It was the first time we’d been apart for more than two weeks in our whole lives. I began to miss her terribly. I found myself wishing that her alarm would wake me up, or rolling up my own jean cuffs. I realized that her annoying habits were a part of who she was as my friend. When I talked to her over the phone, I realized I was sorry for trying to change her. If she had become just like me, we wouldn’t have any interest in being friends anymore. Her leaving was the only thing that could make me step back and survey our friendship, and I found all the faults to be mine.
My experience is like a painting. If you focus on one little area, you may enjoy it for a while, but the little flaws get to you, and you miss out on the experience of the entire picture. By stepping back for a moment you might find that you are looking at the Mona Lisa and that the whole picture is much more enjoyable than the tiny piece you’d been caught on before. Even the little flaws play a part in the beauty of the masterpiece.
With Nicole, I became so caught up in her flaws that I forgot about the beauty of the entire picture of our friendship. When she was gone, I stepped back and realized the mistake I’d been making in not loving her entirely. Now I’m ready to step back into our friendship and love Nicole for everything that she is, flaws and all. This I believe: sometimes we don’t know how much we love a person until we don’t have them anymore.
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