Being a Good Friend

Being a good friend is so difficult.  No, I am not talking about those good times and wonderful moments filled with laughter.  I am talking about those moments when a friend really needs you and is looking for comfort and understanding.

A dear friend of mine called me after having a sleepless night.  She was worried and overwhelmed and yet she would not allow it to show until she casually mentioned what troubled her.  I encouraged her to share and she did.  It was the same old story we have spoken about a million times before.  She had spoken with her mother with whom she has a difficult relationship and hurtful things were said.  The repeating patterns seemed so clear to me.  Who was wrong and who was right was so apparent.  The solution, at least the temporary solution, was so obvious.  It was very easy for me to judge from the sidelines but for my friend everything was a big convoluted mess of a complicated history, overwhelming emotions, regrets, blames and the desperate desire for peace, forgiveness, understanding and reaching out.

I found myself reasoning with her heatedly, analyzing the details and trying to convince her what could be done.  She agreed with some of the things I said and argued against others.  My love for her propelled me to become very involved and feel like I really need to convince her, to make her see how clear things looked through my eyes.  Seeing her anxiety made me want to rush in and save her, hold her hand and find a way to make her life all right again.  But it was all useless.  We both said “Bye” feeling agitated.

Later, I felt that I have failed to be a good friend. What she is going through is meant to strengthen her character.  The challenges she is facing are not coincidental and her troubles will not be over until her soul has gone through the whole course of the experience and until she has found that valuable understanding and expansion we all seek.

My friend is a wise, perceptive person and deep down she knew what was the right approach.  Yet, she was troubled by all the unsettled feelings and needed me to listen to her so she can voice her fears and thoughts, find hope and become whole again.  We all have the solutions to all our problems inside us.  It is just a matter of taming the storm of emotions in us so we can discover the answer.

I wish I had acted more like God.  I wish I allowed my friend to experience her unfolding feelings while remaining loving and supporting.  I wish I had remained grounded in my compassion and kind words instead of trying to change how she felt, acted and saw things.  Change comes from understanding.  And her soul has found the path she needed to develop that understanding.  All I had to do is encourage her strength, lovingly tell her I am there for her and most of all witness her wonderful spirit.

To you, my friend, I send all my love and gratitude for you have given me the opportunity to grow too.

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