Imagine for a moment a complete loss of control: your self-reliance stripped away, and your ability to care for yourself gone. You find yourself like a cork in the ocean about to lose its buoyancy and there is nothing you can do about it — nothing.
I recently found myself in this situation; it added a whole new meaning to the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone….”
A good friend advised, “Don’t fret over what you cannot control (and with respect to my recent situation), “just lie back, smile, exude positive energy, and enjoy the adventure”.
The thought of some famous adventurers from the past came to mind: Christopher Columbus, Jacques Cousteau, Neil Armstrong – although good company, they had the luxury of choosing their adventures.
My friend continued, “Remember, on your adventure, you’ll have a bunch of extremely bright and intelligent people completely invested and focused on caring for you”.
I guess I’m learning that life is like this sometimes. You just have to surrender and fall back into the arms of the world, like a newborn baby, and allow those around you to catch you and care for you. In my case, then, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”, morphed into, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it shows up”.
I could never have imagined the people who “showed up” to become true friends during my time of need, joining me in the adventure, allowing me to share my fears, my discomfort, my anger, my loss, and even my physical and emotional pain. Many of those people who showed up were new, never part of my circle of friends until I departed on my unplanned adventure – a truly unexpected bonus. Amazing! Unbelievable! Joyous! Beautiful! Lovely!
In my time of need, strangers, acquaintances, colleagues, friends and family took the opportunity to invest their concern, their care, and their time, and show up as true friends in every sense of the word.
It reminded me that anyone has the ability and the capacity to show love and compassion through any number of simple actions: a nod, a smile, a greeting, a hello, an inquiry, a helping hand, an acknowledgement, the gift of time, a hug, and many, many other ways.
It has been said that, “Friends are family, that you get to choose”. Possibly, but this is not always the case. Some friends suddenly appear through random acts of kindness in all kinds of occasions and places.
Ah, you may conclude, a situational friend.
Something inside me twists into a knot upon hearing this term, situational friend. It sounds devaluing, dishonouring, and diminishing. Hell, every great friendship begins as a situational friendship.
Think about your friendships; how did they begin? Was it with a simple smile, a hello, an introduction; or through a mutual connection, either a trusted acquaintance or involvement in a shared activity, experience, or gathering?
Regardless, in reality, given the impermanence of life, by definition, every friendship ends, and, as a result, all friendships are situational.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
~ Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
Don’t let your preconceived definition of friendship or the potential impact that you can have on another being be too restraining, too confining; consider that maybe your definition of friendship may at some point in your life constrain your ability to have, or receive love and compassion. Everyone has a choice; choose to care.
This brief but deeply heartfelt thanks is to all my family and friends, past and present; love and hugs to you all…
I’m in your service…
This video reinforces the importance of friends and their positive impact through the simple act of reminding someone why they are important to you…
This post is an excerpt from the upcoming book about a younger mans experience with prostate cancer,
titled “Hey You!!! You’re Too Young to be Here!!!”