Monday, May 12, 2014

just walk beside me

So you have this friend. There are, of course, things you love about this friend, that's probably why she's your friend. But the more you get to know her, the more things you see that she should really think about changing. You don't think about this in a mean or proud way. You firmly believe these changes would be for her own good. Your perspective could be very valuable to her. You could have those words of gold, those gems that make her nod her head slowly as a light bulb appears above it. As a result of these astute observations and thoughtful pieces of advice, she could one day write your name in the acknowledgements of her book, or toast you at her fiftieth birthday, or even put you in her will.

But it's not as straightforward as you thought. You ask a question to get at one of these problems you see so clearly, and she answers with a shrug of her shoulders. Apparently it's not a problem to her. But how could it not be? When clearly it's what's keeping her from every good thing in her life.

Your approach isn't working. And so you decide to walk with her. Literally. You drive to her apartment after work once a week, you both put your sneakers on, and you walk around the block a few times. You see where she lives, she points out the house across the street that her mother thinks she might have lived in all those years ago, you hear the highway traffic along the street two blocks away and agree to never make that one part of your route again. Let's stay where it's calm and pretty, you both agree. Taking steps forward, even if they are slower than you would normally take, feels like it is taking you both somewhere.

They say that walking opens up your mind, connects the two sides of your brain (that rigid left with the flighty right), and you think this might be true for your friendship, too. You and your friend laugh together, find new things to talk about. Like the vending machine at work. Like the flowers you see and smell along the way. You learn things about her you never knew before. You see her with more love and compassion than you knew when you started walking that first day.

Now you understand better that metaphor for friendship: Just walk beside me.

No comments:

Post a Comment