I have some absolutely wondrous and diverse people in my life.

People who genuinely seem to care for me, and my family, who seem keen and happy to have us around. These people are from all kinds of backgrounds, and have many interesting and varied lifestyles, careers, and beliefs. They are interesting, affable, generous and different.

Don’t get me wrong, I think I am a lovely person, with a genuine sense of humour and an essentially generous heart. I will give you the food out of my fridge and  the last $20 in my wallet. I wash myself regularly and I don’t smoke. You know, all that good stuff.

And this is not a ‘compliment fishing’ exercise. I sincerely hate that seeking of reassurance. This is genuine interest or curiosity into how relationships work in an adult environment, where there is no co dependance or other unhealthy aspect to a relationship. This is a post of gratitude, for the fabulous people who choose to include me in their lives. Who look past any differences, or view them as positives, not negatives because we are not all the same.

I sometimes feel that I am merely shiny quartz when compared to some of the diamonds that call me their friend.

And I truly wonder, at times,what these people see in me? What do they feel that I bring to the table, what value do I add in their lives? After all, our mutual presence in each others lives is on a volunteer basis. There is no obligation or societal expectation to the relationship.

I am a shift worker, so very hard to schedule stuff around or with. I can be awkward/loud/quiet in some situations, depending on who is there, how recharged I am etc. I cannot bake or cook well, I do not sew. I am not often available for play dates or babysitting of kids.I don’t volunteer for canteen or class readers and I work 2 jobs.

In fact, in many of the reciprocated activities that appear to grease the cogs of friendship, I often feel that I am the recipient, not the generous benefactor. I am not quite sure what it is that I bring to the bargain. These people have hilarious caring stories of when they have cared for my kids, pciked them from school, took them to basketball, fed my dog whilst on holidays or dropped off some cake to me because I missed out!

And that gets me to thinking – just what DOES bring value to a relationship? Does it always have to be weighed and measured, or does it just have to be valued by whether or not it brings you joy and you feel loved and cared for?

Do I have to equally and immediately reciprocate a favour or an offering to keep everything equal? And doesn’t that go back to what I discussed in For Kindness Sake (http://wp.me/p3vDcr-jm)? About just being kind because you can, and hoping it gets paid forward?

As for the ‘volunteers’ in my life (the people who choose to front up, not the ones who are conscripted by obligation or biology) their presence brings me joy. And that is enough for me.

I guess, I must value add in some way to these people and I have to trust that part of that value adding is that I bring them joy, or good company, or something.

Mostly I am just grateful – because these people make my life, and the lives of my family so much more rich and interesting. What a privilege!