“A true friend is someone who is there for you when they’d rather be anywhere else.” … Len Wein
Sometimes things happen in life that shake our very foundations … and sometimes those things happen to friends and family. I’ve always said that the true test of our inner integrity lies not in simply what the end result of a challenge is; but more, in how we come through said challenge. Do we run when the road gets bumpy or do we follow the old song lyrics that remind us that, “When the going gets tough the tough get going”?
I’ve had enough serious challenges in my life to show me that Len Wein is certainly correct. Death scared away a batch of people whom I had thought were friends. Divorce sent the next bunch packing and a long fight with cancer weeded out the true friends from the more casual variety from the ones who were left. H-m-m-m, before I run out of friends entirely I’m either going to have to stop having life altering events or find a larger crowd of friends who don’t mind hanging in through the really hard times!
Actually I know that I am not going to end up alone. I am blessed with some beautiful friends and family. It’s true that over the last few months, the last few stragglers for whom my challenges were too great for them to comfortably handle have slowly trickled away; but that has left me with a core group of true friends. I’m sure that there are many days when there are places that they would rather be and many things that they’d rather be doing, but like the tried and true, compassionate and caring hearts whom they are, they keep coming around and supporting me anyway … because that’s what heart-linked friends do for each other.
I have come to understand that not everyone can comfortably walk the hard roads in life and that sometimes seeing a friend do so is just too scary. I know that for these people the images that are conjured up of potential disaster and hard times are so frightening that they simply overwhelm the caring heart that is hiding inside. True friends are indeed those who are there for you “when they’d rather be anywhere else”: what I have learned is that I can also be a true friend – even if it’s only at a distance – by understanding and loving my absent friends, blessing their hearts and wishing for them happy lives without the kinds of stress and strife of which they are so frightened. Friends come and friends go – reason, season, lifetime – now it’s up to me to choose how I will continue to love them and how I will share that love … and, maybe, just maybe, the kindest way is simply to say: “I understand … Fare thee well.”