The incredible value of friends

Oct 15

The incredible value of friends

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I learned a special lesson this weekend about the incredible value of friends.

What you need to know is that Joanne Hemmerling, who came out from the coast to walk with me on Sunday, might be someone I grew up with, but she’s also someone I’ve lost touch with.  We re-connected through Facebook a while back, and shortly after that she volunteered to walk with me.

The truth is, had she not, I would not have completed this challenge.  It’s that simple.  The amazing thing to me was that Joanne had her own physical challenges and was unable to compete in the half marathon as planned, and instead of opting out completely, she chose to come with her family, and support me anyway by walking the 10 k, and encouraged her daughter to do the half marathon.

I felt guilty that they were there mostly to encourage me in my own endeavors.

The Medal CircleAt the end of the marathon, in the final 2k where I was wondering if I could possibly make it, there were Tom -the world’s most amazing husband who spends his life supporting me in the various crazy schemes I get myself into – and Joanne’s family, who had waited over an hour for me to show up.  Tom was ready to jump in a car to go find me and make sure I was ok, as I was so late, and Jaimey was wishing she hadn’t changed yet so she could run up to where I was and run me home.

While I deeply appreciated them all coming to support me, I had no idea how despertately I needed them to be there until those last 2k when they all walked me to the finish line.  Even now, as I type, it makes me cry.

Here’s what I learned.  I am an independent cuss.  We North Americans attach quite a bit of glory to that state, and I realized on Sunday that we’re fools.  The joy of interdependence so vastly outweighs the benefits of independence that it’s hard to believe we even try to attain it.

What these special people did for me did not take huge intelligence or skill.  They simply walked with me.  They didn’t critique my form, give me tips, hold me up physically.  They didn’t try to walk for me or spout words of great wisdom.  They were just there.  They made me laugh, gave me support, cheered me on, but mostly they just walked beside me.

I think in the big picture of life, that’s really all we need.  Sometimes we freak out when friends of ours go through tough times.  We don’t know what to say or do to make it better.  We don’t know how to ask for what we need when we’re the ones going through the tough times.  This weekend I learned that, for the most part, we don’t need folks to fix us, give us advice, change the bad stuff.  Mostly we just need someone to walk with us.  Cry with us.  Laugh with us.

This has deeply impacted me this week, and I hope it will give me even more motivation and encouragement to live interdependently and relish more deeply in the joy of friends.

So, Joanne, Gord, Jaimey, and my best beloved Tom, thank you.  You have been the best of friends to me this weekend.


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