SJ with her bestie on class field trip, July 2017. Photo credit: MK Fry

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day … Friendship Day

Life would be an incredibly dark and lonely place without friends. It’s one thing to have family, a spouse, or even children, but friends get us through life. Friends are by our side when we lose a parent, when we go through separation or divorce, when we suffer from health problems.

Friends are there to share in our wins. Friends celebrate us. Friends encourage us when no one else around us cares to believe in us anymore. Friends make us laugh and share funny embarrassing stories that make us feel better about ourselves. Friends pour us that extra glass of wine or let us have the last cookie without any guilt or judgment attached. Friends justify our reason for being silly, whiny, bitchy or selfish. Friends listen.

Friends share their deepest darkest secrets when the baton of trust is passed. Don’t drop it. Friends tell us what we don’t want to hear at times, and we are challenged to be better people. Rise to the occasion. Friends give us positive words of motivation and a platform of support when we think no one else is in our corner. Respect those who stand for you.

This past Sunday was the UN’s International Day of Friendship.

Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.

I am lucky to have made some incredible, important friendships over the years. Some of the more interesting ones have been made in the most unexpected circumstances or even while traveling. Mariko and I met in Kyoto when I signed up for her cooking course. We were nearly the same age, both of us already lost our moms and struggled to have children. She helped me get through tough times of infertility. I stayed in touch with girlfriends from Seoul, who were penpals for years before email existed.

I think about the friendships SJ has formed and the impression they’ve already made on her short-lived life. One of her first spoken words was “chingu” meaning friend in Korean. Her friends are a delicate but critical part of her world.

Friends are taken for granted. There’s no lawful obligation or responsibility to fulfill friendship duties. It’s easy to break up with a friend without legal intervention. Some friends just fade away by passing on, moving away, giving up or being designated to virtual Facebook friends. Why aren’t Friendversaries more of a thing?

People cross our paths in life for one reason or another and we have a moment. It takes off or it doesn’t, but we are forever changed by having met someone new. Some of these friends evolve into memories and some may turn into a thorn in our side. Yet some of these friends remain. They sustain us and become necessary for the purpose of our lives. Some of these friends are too precious to lose and eventually become … family.

I can’t imagine a world without friends. To have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. ‘Til death do us part.

Thank you, friends.

Here’s a previous post I wrote on friends.

4 thoughts on “Chingu

  1. Emily Wagner

    My best friend and I became more than acquaintances one Easter weekend in college when I invited her to my mom’s Easter dinner. For the last 16 years, we’ve celebrated our “Easterversary” annually. I agree that friendversaries should be a thing!


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