THE BLOG
12/20/2014 03:05 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2015

Holiday Traditions: Friendships

Juanmonino via Getty Images

This time of year I am guaranteed to hear from those I do not regularly see. I look forward to the photo cards, emails, and letters on what is happening in their lives. This holiday I celebrate my faith and I give thanks for the gift of friendship. I was never blessed with a silver spoon. Instead, I received friends who never cease to amaze me with their love and unfailing support. 

You are stuck with family members (good and bad), but friends pick you.  I am honored to have a circle of friends that strengthen, encourage, and help keep me sane.  I particularly appreciate the ones that tell me the truth about myself, even though it is not what I may want to hear at the time.  For me, true friendship is being able to share the hard things (i.e. you crossed the line, do you think that was a good decision, I'm willing to help you but you have to put some skin in the game too). When I felt discouraged and ready to give up on my dream of becoming a writer and leave NYC, they made sure I stayed put. This week I received three rejections for writing residencies and fellowships -- a tough pill to swallow during the holidays. I had hoped receiving one would set my writing career on a trajectory in my pursuit of being a published writer. I was (still am) devastated and dejected. My friends sent words of wisdom and encouragement. What could have been a spiral into the depths of despair was averted by the intervention of those that are championing for my success and happiness.

This time of the year, I go through old holiday cards, watching friends' family grow, and reading holiday update letters of where people are. Ornaments and gifts received from friends make the annual pilgrimage to my end tables, book shelves and dressers. I have said it numerous times before, people are your greatest asset. I have been blessed in abundance with loving and supporting friends that neither time nor distance can break the bond. I am reminded that "to be without friends is a serious poverty."

I am blessed because people with no blood relation to me have opened their homes, hearts, and lives to me.  For me there is no greater gift.  I like shiny boxes wrapped in ribbon.  Those things are nice, but the value of friendship tried and true is priceless.

Lifetimes of boxes
Timeless to me
Letters and photographs
Yellowed with years
Some bringing laughter
Some bringing tears
Time never changes
The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me
All that I come from
And all that I live for
And all that I'm going to be
My precious family [and friends]
[Are] more than an heirloom to me - Amy Grant's Heirlooms