I have often said that if I had been asked to make a list of the friends who would have been with my mother through her illness until the end, I would have been wrong. Surprisingly, some of her closest friends distanced themselves while those who were hardly more than an acquaintance stepped up and stayed by her side.
Friends come and go – some by choice, others by circumstances beyond anyone’s control. There have been people in my life who, at the time, I could not have imagined my world without them and yet, they are now gone. Plus, there are some friends that even though we do not see each other or talk as often as we did at one time, I still know that they are there for me and I hope that they feel the same.
A couple of friends have separated themselves from me since the release of my books. One voiced her opinion saying that I should have never shared my stories outside of therapy. Another, although I can’t be sure, seems to feel some jealousy by the attention my books have received. However, how anyone could be jealous of the train wreck life that I have led, I will never know. Still, they may feel that they should have been privy to my heartache long ago and not have learned about it after it was put in print.
The interesting thing to me is, like with my mother’s illness and those who comforted her, I have found amazing support from some of the most unlikely sources. It seems that although there will always be those uneasy by my admission of being abused, there are dozens more that identify with and appear to find strength in numbers.
I am so blessed to have an incredible circle of friends. Friends as far back as elementary school are still in my life offering their love and support. School and church friends, along with artists who I work with, have rallied around me, now that I have bared my soul. There are many others who, because of the connection they feel to my writing, have enveloped me with kindness. The Lord may not have provided that one true love for me, but he certainly has made sure that I am never alone.
So, although friends sometimes exit our life leaving us with a feeling of overwhelming loss – others knock on our door to fill the void. I’ve learned to open that door and invite them in. I am grateful that many have done the same for me.
I love this quote from an unknown source regarding friendship: A true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes the smile on your face.
J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.
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