I'm reading a book called A Hidden wholeness: The Journey toward an Undivided Life by Parker J. Palmer.
Palmer writes that he suffered a period of serious clinical depression and found his way out through what he calls a 'circle of trust'. Palmer also writes extensively about the damage we do to ourselves when we lead 'divided lives'. Lives in which we hide, bury, obscure our 'authentic self'. Eventually if we're not careful, we lose that self.
We need to nurture that authentic self and lose the divisions we've built over the years. And one way to do that is to surround ourselves, as much as is possible, with true friends. "Friends", he writes, "with whom I can be authentic."
To do that he comes "together with people who bring out my better self, friends with whom I can be authentic. I make it a point to connect, whenever possible, with people with whom I have a history of shared joy and shared pain, who call forth in me this feeling of safety."
As I read those words I immediately thought of the few people in my life with whom I can be authentic, who "call forth in me this feeling of safety". That is a gift beyond anything else - the gift of ones self.
To each of those people, I thank you.