Her face was painted with sadness as I looked at her from across the table. There was something about the way she was sitting that seemed to change the mood. She didn’t look at me directly in the eye when she told me the news. It’s as if she tried to hide the embarrassment of her decision. I was her friend. There wasn’t anything she could possibly say to me that would change my opinion about her. It wasn’t a lecture she needed. It wasn’t a scolding she needed. It was a ray of hope that everything was going to be okay. It was the “white lie” she needed to hear. But, was it really going to be okay? I lied. I didn’t know if everything was going to be okay. I felt sad and hurt. Sad at the fact that my friend was suffering from confusion and uncertainty. Hurt at the fact that she felt ashamed and embarrassed to tell me her life changing decision. No matter the outcome of what the future held, I knew for certain that she needed me as much as I needed her. That wasn’t a lie. That was the truth.
For the privacy of my friend, I will not mention any names. However I write this post with an open and honest heart.
As adults we have the tendency to have certain expectations of our close friends and family. We sometimes forget that they are human and that making mistakes is all to natural in this world. So when we hear about something they did or are going to do, we tend to be comforting upfront yet negative behind closed doors.
My friend, who’ve I known now for several years, texted me one morning saying that she would like to come over. She said we needed talk for a little bit since we haven’t seen each other in a few weeks.
That’s when she told me that she was leaving her husband.
Now, usually this type of news would be confusing to understand and there would be many questions to be asked, but this wasn’t the case. If I was a person hearing this for the first time the first few questions out of my mouth would be:
WHY!? “How did this happen?” “Are you sure you’re making the right decision?” “Do you think you can still make it work?”
But, that wasn’t my response.
See my friend has done this a few times. So the news didn’t come much as a shocker this time around. All I could really do as a friend was ask, “Are you okay?” Yet, those words could only mean so much to her during this time.
She told me she was moving out in the next couple of days. She said she felt that she didn’t love her husband anymore. But, I could see that it was the beginning of the never-ending cycle.
My friend was lost. She had hit rock bottom again. I could see that she didn’t know who she was anymore. So her easy escape was to leave her husband. She felt that her confusion was burdening him. Although her husband would do anything for her, she still felt she was in a different place. She allowed her heart to be misguided over the years and ultimately let people define who she was based on her bad decisions.
As a friend I thought I knew what was right for her life. I remember trying to control the situation by allowing myself to be consumed by all the drama. In the end I was angry and sad. Angry at the fact that my friend wasn’t seeing my point of view and sad at the fact that I could see another failed friendship. I was too focused on wanting my friend to see her mistakes that I lost sight of what my true purpose as friend was supposed to be…
Sometimes as friends we always think we know what is best based on similar stories, personal experiences, or what we just want to happen. We tend to forget that it’s not our decision to make. Besides how do we really know what’s best? We don’t. We forget to be that listening ear and that comforting voice. I forgot and became the criticizing, finger-pointing friend.
See every relationship we have in life is different. Whether we choose to see it or not. In this particular case my friend’s husband always tried to see the good. He never once turned his back on his wife. He wanted his marriage to work even if everyone told him that he deserved so much better. But, did he really deserve better or did he see something we all didn’t? At the beginning I was the friend who just thought he needed to move on, but as time moved forward there was a lot more than what meets the eye. I began to see the deep love that he had for his wife. He stood by his vows that he made to her, “For better or for worse…” He knew deep down inside that something wasn’t right and he could see that she was hurting. He knew that the bad decisions she made didn’t define who she truly was inside. He knew that she needed his help to find peace whether they were together or not.
At the end of the day my friend is still my friend. She is just lost. She allowed her bad decisions to follow and haunt her. She carries many bottled up emotions that have never been shared or expressed. She continues to feel hurt and confused. She has tried to find an easy escape from her husband so she wouldn’t trouble him with her emotions. Yet, leaving never seemed to be the appropriate answer. She just ended up coming home.
We all have stories either similar or different from the one I just shared. The purpose was not to embarrass my friend for the mistakes in her life. The purpose behind this post was to show that no matter what situation our friends and family are in, it’s not our position to pass judgement. The reason why they choose to confide in us is because of the trust that has been built over time. As we all know trust is the foundation to any relationship. We have to allow it to continue to grow and develop as life continues to move forward. It’s the listening ear and the comforting voice that we have to provide to people who entrust us with their vulnerabilities. We may not alway agree with decisions that are made, but our idea of what is correct is not always the same as the next person. So the next time someone turns to you, will you leave the door open or will you shut it?