When I was younger, I was such a foul weather friend for my best friend. She had some really rough times as we wrapped up college and started our grown up lives, and that totally fed my need to be needed and to "fix" things. (Ha! Like I really could, but I sure thought I could.) I had to grow up a LOT and break that cycle, which sucked at the time and hurt worse than any boyfriend break-up. There's more to the story, of course. Even though at the time I prided myself on marrying my best friend, I never quit sharing things with my girlfriend before I shared them with my Boy, just like when we were in college. If I was upset, I'd talk to her. If I was upset with my young husband, I'd talk to her. If I was excited about something, I'd talk to her. You probably spotted the pattern there pretty quick, right? Sadly for all of us, I didn't see it until my marriage almost ended. As we worked to reprioritize (why we got to that point is another post), it became clear to me that I talked about being married to my best friend, and I needed to walk my talk. As simple as it sounds, just talking to James more is part of what saved our marriage. Putting him above my friendship (talking to him FIRST...about good stuff and bad stuff, even the silly daily stuff) brought us so much closer and, as simple as it sounds, it still works for us more than a decade later.
My point--it's gotten away from me again. As I was driving on Tuesday, I had lots of time to think about Heather and her family and what they're going through right now. And I had a lot of time to think about me--how I want so badly to DO something for them, to HELP. And how it's not about ME at all. And the picture of trees came to me, and it became very clear...
In my young friendship, I worked so hard to block the wind and the rain and the elements so my friend would suffer less...but I blocked her sun, too, and ultimately she couldn't grow the way she needed to grow. Once I got out of the way, it took a while for her to find herself, but she did--and her life today is wonderful. After a time apart, we became friends again and it's so much better this time around because it's a healthy friendship. I don't try to "fix" her, and she doesn't try to "fix" me...we just stand beside each other through all the seasons of life.
And that's what I'm called to do, no matter how hard my loved one has it. I just have to stand strong beside them, and be here when/if they need a hand. I have to go through the storms with them, not for them.
Walking my talk this morning, as my heart breaks for my sweet friend and her family.
Garlands on the Staircase
5 hours ago