Sticking Together Through Thick and Thin

When a bad thing happens to someone else, what do you do? Just what kind of friend are you in a disaster?

two men in running gear with paper race numbers pinned to their fronts

A good friend stays with you when the going gets tough.

What kind of friend are you to the person who suffers permanent and severe brain damage? What do you do when a friend learns that his life savings have evaporated through theft, deceit or corruption? What kind of friend are you to the person who goes out for a long run on a sunny day and a bomb explodes, shredding her feet and legs? 

Do you stick around while a friend grieves the loss of a marriage, or the death of a spouse or child? Does your presence bring happiness to someone who is out of a job? Are you the person who comes right over to lend a hand when the sump pump fails or the car needs to be retrieved from the impound lot?

What kind of friend are you now? What kind of friend do you want to be?

I want to be the compassionate friend who is there to encourage. I want to be the supportive friend who listens to the anger, fear or whatever emotion my friend is feeling at the moment. I want to be the one with a fresh perspective, the one who serves as a sounding board for possible actions or decisions. I want my presence to bring happiness to an unhappy situation. I want my actions to bring at least some small measure of relief.  

I want to be the accepting friend who embraces the old friend in new circumstances.

I want to be the friend who can be counted on through thick and thin because I know my friends trust me to be there for them. 

I want to be all these things because that’s how I would want my friends to be towards me.

It isn’t easy witnessing others’ tragedy and grief. We don’t know what to say. In the most tragic circumstances, we can’t imagine being them. When the circumstances are horrific, just being physically present can be really hard. Some people, given the choice to turn away, do so. 

The best relationships do not rest on a teeter-totter, the two sides evenly balanced most of the time and only sometimes we agree to stay seated on the ground so our friend can be up high in the sky. The best relationships are a two-lane bridge that spans the distance, allowing us to go all the way to the other side to reach our friend. It’s not a lot of fun being a friend when our friends need us most. It’s tough to be the one who gives and gives and doesn’t get much back because for the moment, our friend is tapped out.

But, when we can continue to be a good friend when a bad thing happens to someone we care about, we strengthen the bond between us. We acknowledge that person’s life has changed forever and show our acceptance by continuing to be a good friend.  And, in our own quiet way, we affirm our own humility, our trustworthiness, and our respect for the dignity of life.

I’ll let you in on a little secret about being a good friend. Being a good friend when it’s hard validates that we are of value to others.

What kind of friend are you now? What kind of friend do you want to be?

Life Is Honest, Open and True: We all have a choice about the kind of friend we are. We can be the friend who is there through thick and thin, or the friend who goes away when the going gets tough. We can be the kind of friend we know we might need some day. 

Related Posts: Other Trust Issues  

Do You Trust First or Trust Last?

Sins of Omission

Honestly Speaking

Just For Me-Town

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