I've been reflecting on friendship lately. I can't think of one phase of my life that is not intimately bound with people I have called friends. From the elementary school playground swinging on swings, playing red rover, always walking hand in hand with my buddies to just last week shedding shared tears over chai tea because being a person is hard but it's oh so much better with these extraordinary beings we call friends. I have been so blessed with different friends in different seasons of my life. I wrote the content below years ago when I was going through a divorce and wanted to express what they meant to me. Some of them are still a large presence in my world and some not so much. Regardless, I will be forever grateful for each and every one of them and the ones who continue to ride beside me no matter the consequence.
Throughout this journey (today it feels like a journey) I have run the gamut of thought and emotion like the wildest roller coaster ride ever. I have learned a great deal about myself and about the people around me on this ride. One of the very profound experiences I have had is that of the people in my life who have gotten on the roller coaster with me.
They didn’t have to. I’m sure there were many times when they didn’t want to, but they did it anyway.
Most of the time these outstanding individuals knew what they were allowing themselves to experience and it was light years away from being pleasant and pretty. We’ve stepped off that roller coaster together, disheveled, queasy, and exhausted, with just mere minutes to recover before boarding again for another go ‘round. These are the heroes of my life. These are the folks who put on battle gear and walked through fires with me. I know they didn’t always know what to do to make it better for me, and really in almost every way, they couldn’t.
Nevertheless they were there.
Beautifully and amazingly, there.
I remember the day when I called one of these heroes because I knew that I needed to cry and I could not get myself to do it. I needed her kindness and love to help me feel safe enough to let it all out. I know as she listened to me sobbing, her own heart was breaking, but she stayed there for me and experienced that pain with me. The ability and willingness to do that for a fellow human being is nothing short of miraculous.
There are still times when I hold on for dear life and pray for it all to be over, but more often these days, I see the quick turn or the steep hill coming and lean into it so it doesn’t completely knock me off my seat. Even on the occasion where I don’t see it coming I am better equipped to recover more quickly. It helps that there is always someone present to hold me steady. I don’t want to be on this ride. It’s not what I signed up for when I walked into the park. Nevertheless, here I am, but I am never alone. First and foremost I have my God. The One who will never leave me. The Rock I build my life on. Then I have those who put their own lives on hold to pick me up, brush off the dust, and gently hold my aching soul. There are no words to properly express the gratitude and admiration I feel for these amazing gifts I have been given. There is a true perfection that comes from the unselfish act of reaching out a hand to one who so desperately needs that touch. I hope and pray that moving forward I can take what I have learned and jump on roller coasters and hold folks steady and give back the amazing love I have been shown. I guess I believe that’s kind of what we’re here for.
I close my eyes, I nod my head, and I say a heartfelt thank you to my heroes.