The Fortune of Friends

As people, and in particular people living in a Western materialistic society we measure wealth, status and success so much by what we have and what we own, whether tangible or intangible. We tend to ignore the riches that lay (or are missing) from under our noses, those aspects of life that really can bring fulfillment and not just cupboards that are more full or more belongings to insure.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs talks about how we need basic needs such as shelter and food met before we can engage in higher level concerns. How can one worry about freedom when one’s next meal is in doubt? The meal when surviving freezing cold is in question? Yet in the US we have most of these needs met.

I count my blessings daily, reminding myself that my pain is not special, nor particularly severe. That many live without their basic needs being met, and further live without the support of community and friends.

Yesterday I took my first step into a new life. Friends gathered to complete my move to an apartment, helped me start organizing it, ate of the food I served from my new kitchen and sat around and chatted. Then they returned to their lives, leaving me to putter and adapt to a new, lonelier life, poorer for not living with my spouse of 29 years, richer for possibilities of a future that is yet to come, ripe but of unknown results.

The first night past, internet and television connected, things getting slowly put away into their places. It will be a slow process but it will happen.

And me? I count myself rich because even though I may live alone now, I am surrounded by love and friends.


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