I was going to post something witty, pithy and slightly frothy this week, but it will have to wait in favour of me offloading my emotions again.
I had some really sad news yesterday. And some really happy news as well. I want to hold and hug and comfort my friend with the sad news, and hold and hug and congratulate the one with the happy news – but all I can do is write an email to both of them and hope it captures my emotions and makes them feel loved. I feel utterly helpless, but that’s not to say I’d be any more use to anyone if I wasn’t thousands of miles away. Being the other side of the world doesn’t make my sadness or my happiness for them any more or less intense. And as long as they know I am there, that I paid attention, that I am thinking of them, that I love them – well that’s all anyone can do whether they live next door or on the other side of the world.
Getting good or bad news is better than no news at all. It means you are loved back, you are counted, you are a part of someone’s life, you are their friend. I have some amazing people in my life, without whom I would be less than half a person. They made me love them so much I can’t bear the thought of them being without me, or I without them. Their good news and their bad news have become part of my story too as we have grown up and grown older together – and apart.
There are times in life when we are called upon to be strong. And then there are times in life when we need to lean on our friends, to share with them a burden, a secret, elation or pain. I believe that strength lies in numbers and sometimes you just can’t, or don’t want to do it on your own. Nor should anyone have to. Comfort or congratulate, sympathise or celebrate, however the moment dictates us to be, we transform ourselves chameleon-like for our friends and put our own lives on hold to be in their world, to be part of their story. Possibly the most amazing, powerful, unique aspect of being human, friendship is something we choose and something we are chosen for. Good or bad, I’m glad I’m still giving, and getting the news.