Over the last four or five years, I have learned about friendship from a completely different angle. Up until then most of my friendships had been pretty fun, deep, but life was good and simple and enjoyable and my relationships reflected that.
Five, almost 6 years ago, my husband and I went through a four year ordeal at our former workplace, that rocked our world and changed our lives forever. It was hard and whilst we had each other, we also learned we had some amazing friends who stuck by us, who encouraged us and motivated us to keep on going and when things came to a head, they grieved with us and have helped us heal. I learned how amazing it is to have close friends share those most intimate and scary journeys that life presents from time to time.
In the midst of my own pain, some dear friends of ours began their journey with infertility…none of my standard answers or thoughts could have bring comfort or healing to their broken and wounded hearts as they endured medical procedures, pregnancy loss several times and the ache that was there every day….to hold their own baby in their arms. I learned to walk alongside giving comfort when I could, I learned that my standard answers were actually just annoying and hurtful and ignorant, I learned to listen, to cry and to encourage without giving false hope (I am still learning all this!). It’s hard being that person sometimes because we grieve and hurt, but it’s still not as deep as what our friend is going through. Then, I was able to rejoice with them when their precious son was born this year….what a wonderful day that was!! I was privileged to be present at his birth and to experience their amazement at what God had done…the miracle that He had provided. WOW!
But now, I am on another journey with a close friend and this one will not have a happy ending, this one is gut-wrenching, sorrowful, heart-breaking and sad beyond belief as my friend watches her beautiful 16 year old son suffer through terminal cancer. It was a shock when I found out in January (I’ve known her son since he was a baby), but then we had the hope of surgery and radiotherapy and it seemed like maybe, maybe there would be a joyful outcome, but then in September that dream was shattered. My heart broke for her and her family, and part of me wondered if I could be the person I needed to be for my friend. To be there through this most horrendous nightmare she experiences everyday.
I’ve learned a lot…..to cry with her, to pray with her, to hug her when she’s hurting, to go with her to appointments, to provide distraction when one is needed, to be her sounding board and emotional backstop and more than that to just be there and one day to be there when she farewells her son for the final time. It’s scary to be one of those friends that has to help her through this and everyday I feel inadequate, but she reassures me that just being there is what she needs most.
So, if you’re journeying with someone through a hard time…hang in there! It’s tough, but the joy of being able to be there for someone else you care about is huge. If you’re going through hard times, rely on your friends. They love you and care about you and want nothing more than to be there for you. And for those of you who are just ticking along….learn how to be a friend in those hard times….learn to listen, to care, to not give advice, to cry, to mourn and to rejoice. That’s what friends are really for!!
If you want to read a bit of my friend’s son’s story, then you can go to this article
Christy – Fit 4 Life Staff