“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller
A few incidents surprised me recently.
- I was at an indoor concert, and a neighbor of more than 30 years saw me walk past. Later, she decided to look for me and told another neighbor, “Sue won’t be on the dance floor.” She was shocked to find me dancing. When she told me this, I said, “Why wouldn’t I be on the dance floor?”
- My sister Mary said that a mutual friend told her I’m hilarious. Mary’s response was, “Sue?!”
- I went to a concert with one of my best friends, Julie, who I’ve known since 7th grade. Later she said, “I didn’t realize you were a fan of rock ’n roll.”
Within a two-week period, three people I’ve known most of my life said that I’m different than they’d thought. I’m not exactly who they thought I am, but they accept me.
These incidents made me wonder what might be true of my friends and family that I don’t realize. Maybe I’ve made assumptions about them, too, based on my history.
There is a lot of polarization in the United States regarding the upcoming presidential elections. Many of us wonder how our friends can support their candidate. People have said they can no longer be friends with another because of their political differences. However, it is not worth losing a friendship over politics. If our friends were identical to us, we’d never learn and grow. We need to respect that the other person has had a different history than we have and has reasons for their views.
I went to another concert with Julie and our husbands. As we were leaving, I hesitated because I have trouble seeing in the dark and I couldn’t get the flashlight on my I-phone to work. Julie linked her arm through mine and said, “It’ll be OK. There’s enough light, and I’ll help you.”
I laughed, because I felt like an old lady with Julie helping me walk. It felt like a foreshadowing of us helping each other as we age, just as we have supported each other for the past 47 years. This is what’s important—helping each other get through our difficult times and being there for each other.
There is not much more valuable than a close friend. Let’s accept our friends as they are and respect our differences as we want them to accept and respect us. Let’s help each other walk in the dark.
How are your friends different from you? How have you supported your friends lately?