Friends sNot long ago, a friend of mine told me he had a tremendous amount of respect for the way I’d handled a challenging situation a few years back. This was someone who, more than just about anybody in my circle, knew what I’d dealt with, and recognized the struggle I faced overcoming the pain and resulting obstacles.

He didn’t presume to know what I’d gone through, but listened and learned, and in that way was able to lend me the support I so desperately needed. It meant a lot to me. What was even more significant was his offer to help me move past my current situation and on to a life more suited to my needs.

When we go through a painful time, friends can either help or hinder us. Not everyone has the same gift of a heart that listens; some help in other ways, perhaps not as profound but ultimately part of what makes us whole again.

cat with mauseThere are the friends who believe in you because they know who you are, and the friends who believe in you because the facts add up in your favor. The friends who just met you and say, “I’m sorry,” when there’s a setback, and mean it, but don’t let you wallow in self-pity.

The friends who call others fools for rejecting you because of rumors.

I don’t believe “all things happen for a reason,” because there is no justification for some behavior, some deliberate actions that hurt people for no sound purpose. (In particular, you can’t tell me the horrors of war “happen for a reason,” but that isn’t really what I’m talking about here.) I do, however, believe the character of a person is found not in their success, but how they handle life’s hardships, whether it’s their fault or not.

A young woman I know, about to graduate from college, had her heart set on a high-profile, prestigious career, and she was well on her way to achieving that goal when she was diagnosed with a chronic disease that will prevent her from pursuing that path. I don’t know her that well, but I imagine she felt stunned, confused, angry, perhaps a little lost. No one’s at fault here; illness is part of life. A painful part, sometimes, physically and emotionally.

3 birds pyramid. Watercolor

While I feel for her, at the same time I believe in a way she’s lucky. I wouldn’t be foolish enough to say that to her now, and it may be years before she reaches that conclusion herself. I believe, however, she’s savvy enough that she will.

To face a setback like this when you’re this young, and to overcome it, which she most certainly will, brings phenomenal strength. It won’t be the last disappointment she encounters (I wouldn’t say that to her now either), although, perhaps being the first of its kind, it may be among the hardest.

I hope those closer to her than I am, those who know her better and know what she needs, are giving her the empathy and support to help direct her onto the right path. No doubt college counselors have seen this sort of thing before, the details different, the results the same, and they have practical advice. Her sister knows her better than anybody, and can put her arm around her and hold her. And so on.

Life’s a journey. Thank goodness for friends.

 

Image Credits: (All)© Wegener17 — Fotolia

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9 Comments on “Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Best Friends

  1. Belinda, great post. I loved everything you had to say here. The illustrations are so wonderful and help paint a beautiful message. You know I have to admit there are very few people in my own life who meet the criteria of a true friend. The young woman you refer to will be in my prayers. I hope all her supporters are as special as this message you delivered.

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  2. Belinda, this is a significant post because the value of friends in our life, those there through the ups, downs, events, etc. is actually invaluable. I have a couple friends that have seen me through hardship and pain. Sometimes it was just their perspective that kept me pushing through. I say it is a nice gesture to tell friends, “Thank you for being there for me.”

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    • Those are words that would brings tears to my eyes, because I know how much THEY mean to ME. I, too, have some close friends who’ve been there through all kinds of life’s challenges — including one or two I’ve brought on myself — and their love has never failed.

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  3. This is a beautiful post, Belinda. I don’t have that many friends, but the ones I have are like family to me. One best friend has been in my life for almost two decades, despite me moving to another continent and back, and us now living across the ocean from each other. What is it they say – blood is thicker than water? But as an only child, living away from my hometown and home country, I can say my true friends are my H2O keeping me going. Thank you for sharing this.

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  4. Thanks Belinda, for such a beautiful post. I understand where you’re coming from when you say you don’t believe all things happen for a reason. But in a sense, it does. We, as humans, live mortal lives on earth and because we are human, we should expect things to happen. Some things happen to some more than others and we don’t know why but we do know that no matter what the situation may be; we somehow learn to face the situation and are changed in some way from it. Those challenges either teach us or others around us…I do think everything that happens is a teachable moment if we are open enough to see it. Sad to say, I have no true friends at the moment because we moved. It takes a long time to gain full trust in a friend and if both are not invested in it, it won’t work. I hope to find those true friends some day, but until then…I lean upon my long distance friendships. Thanks so much for your beautiful post. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading future posts! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Laura. I do believe there is opportunity for growth and maturity in all of life’s trials, and we can bring meaning to them. And certainly every life has it share of troubles. That’s just the way it is, and the quality of our character is determined in great part by how we respond to them. In that sense, there is purpose. However, I don’t like to give the evil, immature or self-serving acts of others any validation. If we come out better people, it’s in spite of what they did, not because of it. I hope you do find the friends you deserve in your new hometown. I’ve made several major moves in my life, and I know it can take some time, but it’s always happened for me. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. Look forward to getting to know you better!

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  5. You are so right! How fortunate we are to have best friends, people we can be ourselves with, trust, know that they will be honest with us, console us, lift us up, carry us, hold us or just be quiet with us. It is such a precious gift! I’m so happy you are blessed with best friends too!

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