It takes courage to stay connected.
This morning as I prepared to write today’s post, I realized I did not do a painted background for the theme. I do not apologize for this. I was out last night connecting with my very dear friend Stephanie. That time is sacred and went a little later than my nights (especially a school night) usually do.
Stephanie is one of those friends who I see three or four times each year but it feels like we are just picking up where we left off. Do you have friends like that? I have known her since grade 7 and she has consistently been, for me, the example of the kind of friend I want to be. She is steadfast and loving, compassionate and giving, and she is not afraid to tell me when I am doing something that isn’t good for me. She loves my kids and my wife and I love her family too.
And she is so courageous. She always has been. In grade 8 I was SO awkward. And I tried to fit in with my group of friends but I was so inauthentic in doing so (as many thirteen year olds are) that it was really off-putting to my friends. And, led by one girl who really did not like me, I was ostracized and excluded. It hurt so badly to go through that. No one wanted to talk to me or hang out with me. The ringleader would spread rumours about me, write hurtful notes and put them in my locker or tell others not to be friends with me.
And they listened to her. Most of them listened. But not Stephanie. Even in the face of the possibility of losing her friends, she would not follow along. She still talked with me and included me. She convinced me that if I was just myself, without apology, people would like me.
As an adult she willingly stepped in at the last minute to stand by my side at my wedding when my brother stepped down. I will love her forever for that.
And on the day I posted something very concerning online, she called to check on me and even went as far as driving from Waterloo to Woodstock to stay with me until I could get an appointment with my therapist.
Stay connected with your people. It takes courage. Stephanie is my example of courage today. Thank you, my friend, for showing up, for telling me to rest when I need to, for helping me through my childhood, for forgiving me when I was a jerk. Thank you for sharing your family with me and for being brave enough to call me when you need to talk. I want you to know that I will always be here for you.
So today, I encourage you all to be courageous, make that call. Connect with someone who you haven’t seen in a while, with someone who, when you are around them, encourages you to be better.