Those who slap you on the back and laugh with you may be fair weather friends.
Those who hold your hand and cry with you are where true friendship lies.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll find the people who will share your life with you, through the laughs and through the tears no matter when and where you are.
What matters most, is that you’re one of those friends to those in your life.
I spoke with a friend today who was down and almost in tears. Turns out a friend of his, a young boy with cancer, lost his battle with the disease and my friend was notified today.
My friend…we’ll call him Anthony to protect everyone’s privacy..had meet the young boy; we’ll call him Steven, at a racing event. Anthony as it happens is a race car driver. Steven was a big fan of dirt racing and for some time he wanted to meet his home town hero; Anthony.
Last year he had that opportunity. Anthony found out about his young fan and invited him to spend the day with him and his crew at a local dirt track. While Steven’s mom wheeled him around in modified chair, they followed Anthony around the track to sponsor events, fan meet and greets, qualifying and heat races. And during the main event Steven was helped onto a special lift with Anthony’s crew chief and hoisted above the track to watch the race and listen in on the crew radio. Steven’s mom said her son never stopped smiling the entire day. It was honestly the time of his life.
The two kept in touch through text messages, phone calls and when he could, Anthony would visit Steven at his home. But through all those visits he didn’t know that Steven’s condition was getting worse and not better. Why? Because Steven didn’t want Anthony to worry or change his focus from racing to his friend. A brave act for an 11 year old boy.
Today Anthony wasn’t only mourning the loss of his young friend, but he was feeling guilty as well. He should have known something was wrong. He should have done more. But of course none of this would have made a real difference. In fact, it might have done the opposite. Had Anthony missed the opening races of the season to be with his friend, Steve may have been the one feeling guilty that his hero was missing some very important events in his career. Would that guilt have helped Steven? Probably not.
His mother told Anthony the few times he smiled in the final week was when he was able to watch his hero on streaming media as he competed in the season openers.
It’s easy for us to feel guilty about living life when someone we care for is fighting for theirs. But when we stop for a moment and think it through we may realize it’s misplaced and irrational. That doesn’t always help, but even if it answers one of the questions of “why”, it might allow the guilt to be set aside and released.
Anthony then turned his focus to “why do guys like me have it so easy” and the good innocent guys like Steven suffer so much? Why is the world so unfair?
When you believe in reincarnation, like I do; and like Anthony does, that question is answered by looking at our physical life from a higher perspective. Steven may have been an 11 year old boy, but his soul and spirit are thousands of years old. We personally don’t know why Steven chose to go through these events in this physical life. But we do know he did indeed choose them. His soul may have elected these events to pay a karmic debt. He may have simply wanted to live through these experiences. He may have sacrificed this physical life as gift of opportunity for those he touched in his life. Opportunities to learn unconditional love, courage, compassion and bonding through friendship.
Anthony shared a few pictures with me of his friend. In every one of them Steven is smiling. Especially in the first few pictures when he initially met his hero. It made me realize that merely by walking into a room of people Anthony could light up a room and create joy and elation simply by being there. But unlike some super stars or infamous people, Anthony and many race car drivers like him understand the impact their persona has on fans. They take it serious and they try very hard to show compassion and kindness when possible.
Of course they can’t give their full-time and attention to everyone at every moment. They have a job to do and sometimes the only have time to wave or say hi. But each one of them would spend a day with their fans simply to say thank you if they could.
I reminded Anthony of what Steven’s mother said. That spending the day with him made his day. For those moments when Anthony would be there for his friend, through thick and thin, he brought a smile to Steven. He made his day. For those brief moments Steven wasn’t a cancer patient, in pain or restricted in a chair. He was simply Steven, a fan and friend of his favorite race car driver. That’s a rare gift to possess. A rare ability to cherish. And Anthony, and many drivers like him, take that gift very seriously. As they should.
It’s hard for us here in the physical world to remember that our spirit still lives on when we have gone. Being pagan I believe like other religions, that our soul moves out of the burdens and pain of the physical world and into the Divine realm of spirit.
No longer is Steven in pain, weakened by cancer and restricted from experiences. Now his soul is free to travel the galaxies of the Divine Universe if he wants to. He can sit next to Anthony while he’s driving 100mph around a dirt track and cheer him on from inside the car. That thought made Anthony smile and gave him a little strength to go on through the week.
Anthony has been asked to say a few words at Steven’s funeral this weekend. He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to do that until today. Until he talked to a friend, who held his hand and said “tell me about Steven, what was he like’.
When was the last time you held out your hand, or offered a hug. You don’t have to say a single word, or come up with a wise answer or deep concept to help someone feel better. Sometimes all you have to do is say “Can I lend an ear? Offer a hug? Give a kleenex or shoulder to cry on?” It only takes a moment to be that friend.
© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.