As I lay in my bed last night staring up at the ceiling, I felt an uneasy discomfort like never before. Normally, I’m the kind of friend who dishes out thoughtful advice but last night was so different that it left me feeling so useless and empty inside. The questions flooded my mind in torrents but the answers were conspicuous in their absence.
Have you ever sat across the table from a friend or family member and wondered what you could do or say to encourage them to get through a really difficult time in their life? Last night was an emotional night as some of us met with and spoke to a friend who is going through an incredibly rough patch.
I listened intently as my friend described the problems that threatened to change her life forever and I felt increasingly inadequate and struggled to keep my voice calm as I frantically searched for the right words to say to encourage her. But the words just didn’t come. I found it excruciatingly difficult to say the right thing at the right time and that led to several awkward silences in the conversation that stretched long into the evening.
Life is tough and sometimes it just plain and simple sucks!! Why do good people have to suffer and hurt? Why do those who choose to do the right thing, eventually end up feeling as though they could have done something differently to make a bad situation better?
Each of us experience disappointment, loss, crisis, injury, financial problems and struggles with relationships. World over, depression is at an all time high and costs millions to cure clinically. But, what words could I say to make a difference in the lives of my friends and give them hope and courage to keep going? Will anything I say ever be enough? Will I really be able to understand the pain, the hurt, the anguish and the fear someone else is experiencing?
I think we’ve all lived both sides of this equation: we’ve all been the friend in need, and we’ve been the shoulder to cry on. One of the things I love most in my own life is watching how in my own tough times my friends rally around to help me through. There is a joy in knowing you’re not facing your hurt alone, and that there are people in your life who will stand by you in times of trouble. It’s enough to almost make you grateful for the bad times, just to experience the joys of friendship and love.
I wish I could tell you everything turns out for good in my friends’ story, but unfortunately I’ll have to wait and see…only time will tell. In the meanwhile, I’m just going to continue being a friend. I may not have the right words to say and I sure as hell don’t have the answers to all the questions, so I’m just going to sit and listen intently and do all the practical, mundane things that need to be done and when and if I am able to say something worth saying, I will.
Good friends are there for each other, in good times and bad and that’s really all that matters.
Be that kind of friend today.