"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." Fred Rogers
Relationship in all its forms are about choice - intentional choice to be in community, to remain in connection, and to maintain contact. Relationships means to choose someone over, and over, and over again - time after time, without fail. When we do don’t choose people that is us effectively losing them, whether it be through choosing others, or permitting a conscious/unconscious uncoupling. Either way choice has to be an active decision, one that requires effort, sustainment, and commitment. Choice must be demonstrated. Choice must be renewed periodically. Choice must be refreshed consistently. Choice is personal. It's individual, nuanced, and specific.
When we choose without gravity, sincerity, or gumption, those are the choices that are easiest to give up on. When we choose without the full force of our hearts, spirits, and souls there is not enough substance there to be preserved. Choice means sacrifice. Choice has to cost us. Choice entails giving something -whether it be our time, effort, energy, presence, love, care, support, money, etc. Choice is an investment in another person, and one that does not come with a moneyback guarantee or a payout. It's a risk, but one that is almost always worth taking. How powerful is it for us to tell people bluntly - I enjoy spending time with you, and would love to be friends with you?
Choose people to be in your life who choose you back. More often than not, choose people who reciprocate. We can choose people but them choosing us back has to be their prerogative, and that choose back is something words can never truly embody. Choice goes both ways. Choice has duality. Choice is a constant reifiying and affirmation of said choice. It’s a renewal of proverbial vows of sorts. It’s a conscious decision to think about, care for, and love unconditionally those that you have made space to be part of your life and your life story.
It's an awareness that you carry with you always that you have people that matter to you; and that keep you steady, lift you up, and hold you down. It's a perspective that you are connected to another life beyond all confines, barriers, and deterrents. There's something amazing in the literal sense of the word. There's an awe that comes with it. There's this indescribable feeling to be in the presence of someone who values, appreciates, celebrates, validates, champions you, and for whom you do the same. In a world of antagonism, derision, and survivalism - a bond to band together is a courageous one. As much as we are able, we should choose others and hope they choose us back.
Evergreen relationships are the best of their kind. Those are the connections that continue to endure no matter the time that has passed, or distance between you. It's feeling that invisible tether to the other in a way that reifies how you are connected in surreal ways. It's feeling within when that other person needs you or that moment they pop into your head that you can just say hello and will be greeted with a warm embrace. It's the people you can drop call without forewarning and know they will answer with glee or a listening ear. Those relationships that are destined to last a lifetime because of how strong the connect between you is.
Those evergreen relationships are built on trust and vulnerability. It's the combination of having shared meaningful moments together, communicated deep truths, and given part of yourself to receive the other. It's a connection forged out of authenticity and reality - not pleasantries and platitudes. It's allowing yourself to be known and letting others know you + doing the work to know them. It is reciprocity. It is faith. It is belief wholeheartedly in another person. What a gift to be able to plant an evergreen relationship that will weather all of life's storms rooted in the fundamental love of both someone else and who you are in tandem. More evergreen relationships. More effortful relationships that are simultaneously effortless. More lifelong friendships, kindred spirits, and unconditional love. More people to go through life with. More constants, more certainty, and more refuge in a life of ambiguity. Grateful for my evergreen forest of friends.
On the other end of the spectrum is those flimsy relationships or the ones stuck in limbo. Neither of us are quite invested enough to put in the necessary effort to add gravity to them. That's a choice that has to happen. Either we commit to doing the work of relationship or we choose to let our connections dissipate. There is so much power in telling the truth, even when its one of disconnection. How brave it is for us to communicate that we need to alter a relationship, don't feel the same way, or are choosing to disconnect.
Sometimes relationships have run their course. We stop being excited about people. We no longer have the same curiosity and wonder to ask questions about the other. We don't have the same commitment to care. We have chosen differently. We have chosen others. We have chosen ourselves. Those are all okay so long as we choose to make that explicit. The kindest thing we can do is give people the truth, and in this instance that is closure. Let people go. Let people move on. Let people make space for others in their gardens. Let people plant other trees. Not all relationships are evergreen, some may bloom for a season, and we have to be able to classify them accordingly like a dichotomous key. We cannot expect every person we allow into our lives to be there for the duration of our lives, but it is always worthwhile to remain open to be possibility, just as it is to send people on their way. X