As I stepped off the bus, I looked ahead inside the bus terminal, from a distance, I could see her waving her arms in the air to catch my attention. I waved back at her and started running in her direction. We met up with each other half way through the entrance, I just threw my back pack on the ground, and wrapped my arms around her. We were unable to let go of each other, “I can’t believe I am actually here, that we are together at this very moment!”
Evelyne was been one of my closest friends growing up. We shared so much together, traveling adventures, laughter and most of all, there for each other in difficult times. Then, during a summer vacation in Chile, she met the man of her dreams, married him and moved to Chile 13 years ago. We had not seen each other since. Now, I was going to spend the Christmas holidays with her and her family. Do you remember as kids, having friends was probably the single most important thing? I remember practically swallowing my food at supper just to go back outside and play with my friends. We invented games together, it was our own little world outside the world of the adults. We were free to be ourselves, do and say the things that adults did not understand. Sometimes we would get into arguments, walk away from each other, only to be together again the next day. We did not hold a grudge. How did we forget to do this as adults?
Remember that one friend that you shared a special affinity, the one that even though you spend most of your day with, you had to speak to every night before going to bed. You recognized each other’s footsteps, you knew exactly what the other was thinking, you would finish each other’s sentences. That one person that made you feel worthy…every moment you were together was an adventure, not afraid of trying different things, being there for each other, having someone to truly listen to you and stand up for you.
As adults, our priorities shift, we are too busy with our new lifestyles and different interests. It becomes harder to make new friends and lose the contact we once had with our old friends. We were taught that as we get older, we have to stop “being kids”, and need to face adult responsibilities. Somewhere along the way with those responsibilities, we clog our minds with things like competition, judgment and pre-meditated thoughts that we buried the true value of friendship.
Making or keeping friends requires a commitment and trust that does not come as easy as when we were kids. If we take the time to commit, friendships can enrich us as much as when we were kids. It does not mean that we have to forget about our responsibilities, however, if we can value friendship as we once did, it can enrich us we continue to grow.
The time I spend with Evelyne has been one of the most rewarding experiences since my arrival in South America. We both grew to have completely different lives than we did 13 years ago. It did not come between us, although we each made completely different choices in our lives, we learned so much from each other as we shared all our experiences to the present time. I rediscovered my self worth as a friend, nothing else mattered when we shared our most deepest personal emotions. As we took our walks on the boardwalk by the ocean, we had not a care in the world, we brought out the best in each other, we were comfortable being ourselves, imagining all sorts of crazy things, laughing and feeling like a couple of kids again.
I would like to leave you with a beautiful friendship story I heard a while back. I will share it to the best of my recollection, it is incredible the difference you could make in someone’s life without even knowing it. A small gesture can go a long way!
Here is the story:
A young boy was walking home after school one day. He had taken all of his books with him, completely emptied out his locker. Across the street, were a small group of kids who were in the same class as the young boy. They began to tease him, making fun of him as they usually did at school. They crossed over to him and started pushing him around, “you think you are smarter than the rest of us by taking all your books home.” They knocked him down and all his books fell to the ground. They left him there on the ground with his books all over the place, laughing and feeling proud over what they had just done.
A few moments later, another boy approached him. He crawled down on the ground and helped the young boy pick up his books. He could not help but wonder why he was taking all his books home. They were in the 4th grade and the teacher had not given them all that homework for the weekend. So, to satisfy his curiosity, he decided to walk home with, helping him carry the books. He had never really paid much attention to him before, but, today he was intrigued by this boy who was constantly bullied at school. ”We are getting together to play baseball at the park tonight, would you like to join us?”
The young boy was speechless, this was the most popular kid in school and he just invited him to play baseball!!! He accepted!
The reason for the books never came up and at some point became irrelevant. The boys went on to become the best of friends. They were always there for each other, supporting each other…
After University, they sat together during the ceremony. The young boy (now a young man) walked up to the podium to say his speech…
One day, when I was in the fourth grade, I decided to take all my books home with me. You see, that night I was going to commit suicide, I was no longer able to cope with being bullied. I did not want that my mom would have to empty out my locker, so, I took all my books home with me. On my way, a group of boys pushed me to the ground and I dropped all my books. A boy, who I had never hang out with, helped me pick them up and from that day on, my life had a new meaning… Today, I want to thank my very best friend for having come in my life when I needed him most, although he did not know it, he reached out to me and gave me hope! Thank You!!!
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