“Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest, it’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you,” and PROVED it.”—Author unknown
That saying reminds me of a time in my life when I was down and broken, and the people who came to my rescue, supported my healing, growth and helped me stay accountable to my goals, weren’t people whom I had called friends at the time but complete strangers who walked in and said “we’re here for you”. At the beginning of the year 2003, I was in a great place in my life. I had lots of friends to party with, had a nice car and apartment, was engaged to a great looking guy and I had just been promoted at work with a pay raise. Life was great. In October of the same year, I lost my job, the man I was engaged to left 3 weeks before the wedding, my car was stolen and I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. Not having a job meant that I could also be potentially homeless when my savings dried up. As far as I was concerned, it would have been better to be dead. I hadn’t been in the United States long at the time and my family was far away. I also was too ashamed to inform them of what had happened and too proud to ask for help. On a Friday morning, I was sitting on the side walk near a very busy street thinking of what to do next and feeling very physically and psychologically tired when two women–whom I later came to know were best friends—stopped and asked me if I was hungry. I proceeded to explain to them exactly when last I ate and that yes I was hungry. They smiled and said, “we meant, are you hungry for hope and life?”. I was almost annoyed by their question because I was hoping to be offered a sandwich or something edible at that moment. I didn’t feel like discussing anything profound. I answered them by saying, “peace, hope and life have no meaning to me. I am no one and no one cares.” They asked me to get up and walk with them. I didn’t want to because they were strangers and probably crazy but I figured it didn’t matter what happened to me from that moment on, so why not? They heard my story and they changed my life. They became my friends at a time when others ran away from me because I was no longer fun. Their names are Maddie and Liz, and their support in a challenging time brought me out of darkness into life. That is the power of having social support.