We often do not realize the influence our words and deeds have. We generally go about our lives mindless to the fact that every action, and every word, not only has meaning but has ripple effects that may mean something greater then you ever intended or thought possible.

I know I’m guilty of this more so than any writer who seeks audience and influence should be. It’s quite paradoxical. I write to spur discussion and perhaps to provide others with another way to look at the world and, perhaps, themselves. Yet, am completely surprised when someone reaches out to tell me that I have made them do just that. Especially when it is someone who I greatly admire and consider an influence and mentor to me.

Such is the case with my friend Erica. [She recently reached out in this way via a post on her blog](http://swirlspice.com/reverb10-december-16-friendship/) in response to a [Reverb 10 prompt on friendship](http://www.reverb10.com/december-16-friendship/). Let me tell you a bit about Erica. She is smart. Beautiful. Out. Proud. Passionate. Sweet. Opinionated. She is someone who I have not had a chance to spend near enough time with and long to get to know better. That said, who she is, the way she lives her life, as well as all of the qualities mentioned before have been a tremendous lesson to me.

She is also one of a handful of people I consider a member of my “Board of Directors”. This a a small group of friends that I reach out to for sanity checks and feedback on all of these crazy ideas I have. Why? Because she has the courage and grace to both support and challenge with kindness and a strong desire to help my ideas succeed.

That said, here we are a couple of years into our friendship, only fully sharing these truths with each other for the first time. And, though we are doing so in a public forum, make no mistake that these are as much revelations to ourselves. Because, even for us writers, I think words are often not enough to express the complex nuances of a deep caring and respect for another. The word “like” too simple. The word “love” risks being taken in many ways without the proper modifiers.

But the fact is that words have not been needed and even now are as much recognition and formality. For it is simply sufficient to say that she is my friend, and I know she considers me the same. And that is enough.