Saturday, January 1, 2011

“Anytime you need a friend....

I will be here...”  So sings Mariah Carey. 

But some words are only true in a song.
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
Maybe those are the kind of friendships other people have.

Lucky bastards.

In the real world, you don’t always get back what you give. 
“Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.” -Albert Camus
In my life’s darkest times, no one has “shown up” for me. 

If I wanted to hit the bars, there are a bazillion people, friends-cousins-acquaintances, I could call up.

If I wanted ditzy bimbo friends to gossip with about who’s sleeping with who, I could go be another dime-a-dozen trollop down at the bar all hoed up with my group of girls. 

But when your life’s falling apart:

  • Do you call the friend who’s not there for the little things to be there for the big things?
  • Who can’t be burdened for an hour lunch...for a life crisis?
  • Should you unload on someone too busy to post back on Facebook, much less reply to an e-mail?
My so-called “best friends” have known about all the major losses in these past several years of my life ... and not bothered to call or see how I’m doing, or even if I’m alive or dead. 
“Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don't say.”
For a time you continue to reach out anyway, to act normal, hiding your pain so as not to be a burden.  You try to be the kind of friend you wish you had, until that nagging question in the back of your mind one day leaps to the forefront: where WERE you?

Where were you when life was kicking my ass?

When I couldn't get out of bed?

When I had no one?

I didn’t even show you the darkness, I pretended for you...wasn’t I a good enough actor?

I know, I know: it’s always more fun to knock back a few margaritas with the happy, laughing bunch.

Failure might be contagious.  Despair is catching. 

And a leper? 

So before you shut me out completely, best friend, I will throw you out along with the rest of the world. 

I never wanted you to feel sorry for me.  I didn’t need your pity.  I did need to look in your eyes and see that I was the same person you called “friend” before this bulldozer ran over my life. 
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." ~Henri Nouwen 

"But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. A friend is a person who doesn't feel the need to cram silence with platitudes. A real friend knows that sometimes there aren't any answers.

    Sometimes all you can do is hang on. I hope you're okay.

  2. I wish there were more people who accepted that there doesn't have to be an answer. And sometimes, if you hang on long enough, you can wake up on the other side of things.