This talk is especially poignant to me this week, as I have recently been let down by a long time friend. This person has been in my life for over 30 years, from before I knew about my illnesses, through first becoming sick, to becoming disabled to the current day. I really thought he understood what I go through, he has certainly seen enough of it first hand. But somehow he still just doesn't get what it is like to live with chronic illness, what types of things we face day to day that healthy people don't. He has had some of his own stress lately, and I attributed his change in attitude to what he was going through, but the end result has been his pulling away. I feel hurt and completely bewildered by his actions. I don't expect too much from him, or ask for a lot of support, but he seems to simply resent that he can't make it all better, despite the fact that I have never asked, wanted or expected him to. So instead of just being my friend, he feels he needs to "fix" me or leave. We are still in contact, but the friendship has been altered forever and my trust is shattered.
I wonder if any of you have been through something similar with a close friend, a spouse or a family member I think most of us don't expect the general public or even passing acquaintances to "get it", but we hope the ones who are closest to us will. I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences with this, if you feel you can share them.
I look forward to listening to Laurie's talk today and hearing what she has to say on the subject. I encourage all of you to go to the website and listen to any or all of the talks from this week. They are being archived on Blogtalkradio so you can listen at your convenience, and even save them to listen to again. I have found so many of the talks and speakers to be so helpful to me, and I hope you will find the same for yourself.
I found a wonderful quote the other day, which to me sums up what I look for in a friend. I want to close this post with it in the hopes that it may provide comfort to you as it has me.
"When we honestly ask which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness. . .makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters." -Henri J. M. Nouwen