This past weekend I was lucky enough to be visited by two close friends from college, Ben Hall and Chuck Howe. I had not seen them since my surgery. In fact, the last I saw Ben was in 2007 during a trip to Puerto Rico, and the last time I had seen Chuck was before then at my wedding in New Zealand in 2005. Part of me was anxious at the thought of seeing my old friends and what they would think of my current condition. Yet there was another part of me that was so excited to see them again. Their visit was an uneventful, filled with retelling of old stories and updating of the whereabouts of former college classmates. While “uneventful” might connote “boring” to some, my ideal day is an uneventful one.
Even though part of me was anxious at the thought of seeing them, their visit reminded me of the importance of having such close friends. While this ordeal has clearly highlighted the value of family, it has also made me realize that I have underappreciated the value of close friends.
I realize that part of their reaction upon seeing me brought about thoughts like, “Wow, he’s worse than I thought.” These are people who would be frequent visitors to my tennis matches in college, and now, only 10 years later, I could not jog. Even standing upright proves to be a task. But I’d like to think after the initial shock of seeing my condition, they simply enjoyed seeing a friend.
Regardless of their thoughts I have come to appreciate the importance of having friends like them in my life. It’s unfortunate that it has taken a debilitating brain tumor for me to come to this realization. But I implore you, do not make the same mistake I have made. Don’t take your friendships for granted. Appreciate every friendship you have and nurture them. Friends love you for who you are. For them, your well-being is their first priority. Sometimes this means agreeing with the most irrational of explanations, but to them if this agreement results in an improvement (or maintenance) of your well being then this is what they will do. For example, if you’re friend said to you, “my dad’s idea makes absolutely no sense!” Even if you saw the logic behind this decision, you might agree with your friend, because he/she is, well your friend. Your friend can also ground you, and will not hesitate to call you out any of your hair-brained ideas. “That makes no sense, Chris,” I’ve been told(in college after giving my roommates a bad explanation); even though a comment like that may hurt at the time, it could serve to stop you from making a decision or saying something that you regret for the rest of your life.
Cherish each and every friendship you have. When you find yourself trapped in a pit in the road it is your friends that will pull you out.