Is Friendship the Truest Form of Inclusion?

pre-weddingThe language of friendship is not words but meanings. ~Henry David Thoreau

From time to time, it is beneficial to reflect on life. Today, we celebrate friendship. Deep. Enduring. Trusted friendship.

Friendship is the grace which falls upon us all–if we are lucky. Enduring friendships are a blessing and a gift to be treasured. For people who experience visible and invisible disabilities, friendship is the truest form of inclusion.

Let me share my daughter; Mikelle’s friendship story with Jerome. They’ve been friends for a long time, since 2003, thirteen years. Over the years their friendship has grown and changed just as they have grown and changed. We all know that our friendships help us to define ourselves as adults. Mikelle and Jerome have grown together and apart, but always maintained a solid friendship. Maturity levels may have changed, but their time together will always be of a simple, fun-loving nature.

In your twenties your friends are for good times, helping you explore the world and the boundaries within. They support you when you stumble and when you are flying high. They are there for you to lean on in tough relationships or to celebrate new friends. Mikelle and Jerome have leaned on each other during all of these times. From taking drives up to the mountains to sit silently and enjoy each other’s quiet company or meeting at Starbucks to catch up on new gossip. It’s these little moments that make a friendship a lifelong relationship.

The older she gets, the more Mikelle appreciates this easy friendship with Jerome. Her life is chaotic. The coming and going of new roommates and new aides is always hectic. Some become lifelong friends, like Jerome, while others are in her life for a short time and then fly off to lead their own lives. Always, he is there. Jerome, too, has come to treasure his time with Mikelle. Between his constant search for a career he is passionate about and his busy social life, he likes his breaks from reality with Mikelle.

When Jerome and Mikelle get together it’s like watching the world stop. Time slows down in their little bubble. For an hour or two they are released from the world. It’s magical to behold a friendship like this. It’s easy to imagine them returning to this bubble, separate from everything, for years to come. Most certainly, a friendship for us all to aspire to.