Friday, November 6, 2015

What Kind of Friend Are You?

It's 10:00 P.M. and the end of a stressful week.  I hadn't had a moment to myself all week between work and obligations, lending a hand to clients who needed me and a couple days out of town which included a lot of driving.  I was exhausted.

The phone rang.  I wonder who is calling this late. 


I hear muffled words and short breathing sounds.  My first thought is "Oh no, what happened?"  

"Hello, can you hear me?"  A few sniffles and then "I honestly don't know how I can go on like this."  

"What do you mean?  Are you hurt?  Is your family okay?"

It was almost impossible to understand her words but eventually I pieced together that she discovered her husband was cheating on her and she was devastated.  

Without a moment's hesitation, I grabbed my keys and headed to her house.  She lived about 45 minutes away and it was raining heavily.  I hate driving at night, especially in the rain as it is extremely difficult for me to see, but if I take it slow, I will be fine...I reasoned. My friend needed my support.

I cannot begin to tell you how often this scenario has happened to me.  As a health coach, I counsel many clients who have serious concerns and I have always given them my home number asking them to call me in the middle of the night if they need reassurance or have any questions.  I am thrilled that I can be there for them and solve any issues they may have.

For that reason, when I received this prompt from Southern Belle Charm I knew it was designed for me to answer.  As a side note, Minette Langston of Southern Belle Charm suffered a terrible tragedy in her family this month.  Our hearts ache for her and we hold her and her family up in prayer.

The prompt was:  It's 10:00 p.m. and your best friend who lives 30 minutes away is having a major meltdown.  Do you get up, get dressed and go to her?

I believe that most of us would do that -- support a friend in need.  If the tables were turned and you were hurting, do you know someone who would drop everything and run to your rescue?  

I am fortunate enough to have two friends who would do that for me. We live in an area that requires you to take a ferry to get to the city and if you miss the last ferry at night to return home, you are stranded.  

My husband is disabled as a result of a brain injury.  One of the things he suffers with is Chronic Pain Syndrome. There are no painkillers that can give him any real relief -- he has more bad days than good ones.  If he needs to go to the city, I stay in close contact with him by phone to be sure he is able to drive home safely.  

A few weeks ago he was in the city.   I spoke with him around two in the afternoon and he was headed to the ferry.  I am always relieved when I know he is at the dock.  But, I had not heard from him by five o'clock and there was no answer when I called.  The next ferry was 5:30 and I thought that he may have fallen asleep while waiting for the boat.

I started calling him every 15 minutes and......nothing.  It was now close to 7:30. The last ferry that night was 9:15.  I was trying to keep a positive attitude, thinking of every possible scenario to maintain an even keel.  Inside I was shaking.

The car accident that caused the brain injury also caused a stroke. You see where my mind wanted to race?  

If his phone was not working and he caught the last ferry home, he would walk in the front door no later than 11 p.m.  It was now 11:30. I dialed my friend's number.  She usually goes to bed by 9:30 and I hated myself for calling her, but I was going crazy inside. 

"Hello?"  I knew I woke her up.

"I can't find Paul."  My voice was breaking up.

Instantly she knew what was wrong as it was something that concerned all of us.  "I'll be right there."  She didn't ask why or even if I wanted her to come over -- she just hung up the phone and was at my door 20 minutes later.

For every negative scenario I cried, she had an answer. She knew he was okay even though it didn't look good. She continued to assure me that he was fine and would be calling me soon. The more she talked, the more I believed her.  She prayed with me and asked God to show me where he was -- and would not allow me to think he was hurt....or worse.

It was after midnight when I realized where he was -- the idea came to me out of the blue and I believed God had answered prayer. I knew the parking garage where he always parked and even the location as he parked in the handicap zone.  I found the security office phone number for the garage and explained my situation.  They said they would find him.

Around 1 A. M. the phone rang.  Paul sounded fine and at that precise moment I was relieved and angry at the same time.  A strange mix of emotions that often plays out in these situations.

"Honey, I am so sorry.  I went to my car in the parking garage after taking a handful of pain killers and I needed to wait for them to kick in before attempting the drive home.  I dozed off around three.  I'll be on the next ferry.

"Babe, it is after one in the morning."  He was shocked.  He would be spending the night in the car, but at least he would be on the first ferry in the morning.  

I know better than to worry, but sometimes it does rear it's ugly head and take over our rational mind.  I want to be the kind of friend that my dear friend was to me that night. 

What about you?  Do you have a friend who would be there for you -- no questions asked?
Would you be willing to help someone when it inconvenienced you?

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