Saturday marked the birthday of a very good friend. We’ve been friends for seven years now, so if the experts are correct, I guess that means we’re stuck together for life! I first met her at the beginning of freshman year in college.
The one thing that stood out to me was her friendly and outgoing personality. She never seemed to not be smiling. “Nobody could ever be that happy all the time,” I thought to myself. “It’s all just a facade.” I unfairly concluded that she was an incredibly shallow person, and thus tried to keep her at arm’s length.
Despite my attempts to do so, she always seemed to pop up, usually when I was having a bad day. Her smile only seemed to make me more frustrated. She consistently pointed out to me the fact that my “friends” were not helping me become a better person, and I consistently told her that I was just fine. I brushed off all her warnings, continuing down a path of poor decisions.
Eventually, the consequences of my decisions began to spiral out of control. After ending a particularly abusive and manipulative relationship, I found myself the subject of several vicious rumors. I was already struggling with binge eating, and I had begun to develop symptoms of what I would later discover to be manic depression. At the end of my rope, I went to the only person I knew who had continually tried to help me.
She never so much as said, “I told you so.” Instead, she offered a helping hand, even going so far as to direct me to the college counseling center. Convincing me to do so took a while. I dug my heels in, insisting that I didn’t need “that kind of help.” After I rescheduled my initial session for the third time, she walked me to the counseling center to make sure I actually went inside. Even after I finally committed to regular counseling sessions, she continued to spend time with me, asking how therapy was going. I soon came to regard her as one of my closest friends.
My friend showed me that love can conquer anything, even my own pride and stubbornness. She never gave up on me, not when I was rejecting her help, not when I dragged my feet getting into counseling, and not even when I relapsed into binge eating. She saw my true identity, hiding beneath all the hurt and shame, and helped bring it into the light. Seven years later, I still benefit from her insight and encouragement.
The lessons in love I have received from her have helped me to more fully love the people around me, to help them conquer their own challenges, and to bring their true selves out of the darkness. I believe in love because love conquers everything.
- I Believe in Love Because Love Conquers Everything - October 18, 2017