the gift of friendship: Wouter

Friends come into our lives.

They just come into our lives.

You can’t really go out there ‘looking’ for them.

They happen.

Or that is my experience.

We’d been living on the outskirts of Nelson Mandela Bay close on five years.

We’d been coming to the river on weekends for probably the last three of those five years.

The river. It is awesome. It is out of the hustle & bustle of city life. A handful of homes nestled into indigenous forest on the water’s edge, wooden jetties leisurely extending into low tide water with the song of the fish eagle and the distant call of monkeys as background music.

It is a place to breathe.

We come here often, as often as we can. We swim, canoe, go for long walks, sit by the fire talking late into the night. We read, play board games.

Why they were next door on this particular weekend, I would not know. We’d been there too many times to count & never met them. This weekend we met, we started talking, we grew fond of each other. We discovered our homes were a brisk walk from each others’ and we’d been living as almost neighbors for quite some time.

Our kids enjoyed their son’s company. We found we had more in common than a love for the river or proximity of residence. We looked at life in similar ways. We’re all serious about the environment and its preservation. We’re interested in living a meaningful life, spending our time on endeavors which make a difference.

More than that, we found each other interesting.

It was a time of emergence for us.

We’d just been through a difficult time. We lost friends. We lost family. We lost what we thought were a future and we were forging a new future in a new way, becoming who we knew we were, more than ever before.

The timing was impeccable.

We’ve been friends ever since & my optimism convinces me that we’ll be friends long into the future.

I learn from my friends.

I am built by my friends.

My world is expanded through my friendships.

I am challenged to think in new ways.

To consider other possibilities.

Perhaps that is what I found in Wouter as well.

I learned from him that we all have fears. Fears to conquer. Fears which may prevent us from ‘being’ if we allow them to paralyze us.

I’m learning from him that there is always a way. That is is never too late.

And that acceptance does not mean defeat. It rather means embracing a different path. And when we embrace this new path it becomes beautiful.

I often wonder about the ways in which I add value to my friends’ lives.

I do know this, had it not been for the friends who chose to intermingle their lives with mine & ours, I would be poorer.

And so, this Christmas, I celebrate this gift called ‘friendship’.


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Just click this link to take a look: Theunis Pienaar in Amzaon.


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