Show up for a friend
Recently, I received one of the longest texts I have ever received. It was from a friend of mine I’ve know since elementary school. She didn’t have good news and seemed distraught. She was lost, scared, and frantic all at the same time.
Immediately, I could feel the emotion behind her words.
Her text informed me that she was dealt another blow by life. As it is, she had been through a lot recently with a difficult health situation, and an emotional personal incident. This time, over the course of just one week, she witnessed two of her loved ones pass away and a third fall severely ill. This broke her apart.
Even strong people can reach a breaking point.
In moments like this, I find myself lost for words and not sure what to say. Even as a writer, sometimes I like to think that I can just list out a bunch of guidelines to follow in situations and follow them myself. But things aren’t always so easy. Life isn’t so easy.
I remember when I was a teenager, my parents would always make it a point to show up to every funeral and support anyone they knew who had suffered a loss. Sometimes, they didn’t even know the person they were giving condolences to that well; for instance, maybe it was just a friend of a friend they had met a few times. Regardless, they made it a point to show up or call.
When my friend told me by text all the pain she was going through, I was initially numb, felt a heaviness in my chest, and anxious. I felt unable to help her, angry that such hardship would befall upon her, and confused on how to console her.
But then I spoke with my mom, and she told me exactly the right thing to do.
I immediately called my friend, and went over to her place. We talked through everything she had been through, we agreed on the importance of letting in the pain instead of listening to what other people say you “should” do, and we talked about what she had learned in the process. Mainly, I just listened, offered my understanding, and told her I loved her and that she will be okay.
Life is messy and difficult at times for all of us. Sometimes the best thing to do to support one another is to just show up, empathize, and create space for love, compassion and vulnerability.
In my family, I always say that we are all as strong as the weakest member and that we have to bring them up in order for the entire family to be stronger. I treat my friends like family and as a part of who I am.
When they hurt, I experience it. When they smile, I join in. When they cry, I feel it.
I believe that our lives are not as separate and individualistic as we sometimes think. They are intertwined with deep, rich, and meaningful bonds, and we often live through the experiences of others. Reminding myself of this helps keep me grounded and connected to the people I love.
Who can you show up for this week?