Friends matter

Friends Matter

Last week we were plunged into a family crisis, which I will not go into here. It will be an ongoing problem and it struck us with the force of the proverbial ton of bricks. My husband, the rock that we all depend on to keep us tethered, has once again assumed that role. I, on the other hand, have teetered between constant sorrow and outright panic. How he puts up with me is beyond my understanding.

Friends have provided support in so many ways the most important of which, to me anyway, is giving their time to listen. When I say, “I can’t talk about it,” they stay quiet and wait. When I express my fears, they listen. If I cry, they offer their shoulders.

I have been lucky in life to have made good friends; even those I don’t see regularly can be counted on for support. We all need family and friends. Recently I read a newspaper account of a man who lived alone in rural Maine, surviving by pilfering food and supplies from homes in the area. He managed this existence for over 20 years. Can you imagine what that must have been like? Mental illness is likely a factor, of course; however, the thought of having no one to talk to for over 20 years—that just boggles my mind.

Some religious orders practice monastic silence, spending their time in prayer and work. But they are a community, and what they do daily, though conscripted, is dependable and serves a purpose. I’ve read that solitary confinement among prisoners, on the other hand, induces anxiety and can lead to severe mental incapacity, from hallucinations to the inability to think clearly.  The difference between voluntary silence and forced aloneness is the difference between lucidity and confusion.

We need people; we need friends; we need each other.

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12 thoughts on “Friends matter

  1. Diane, I cannot imagine a life of solitude. Everyone needs someone to lean on and to talk with. You are a wonderful friend. So many times, in conversation with others, your name comes up. Reene Martin and Teresa Moslak talked about you just the other day. They were both thinking about the summer writing institute. Remember those days? Collaboration and teamwork!

    You and Joe are an incredible team. I hope this family crisis is resolved with positive solutions for all. Much love to you.

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  2. So sorry to hear, Diane. My thoughts are with you. I’m so glad you have your husband and friends to surround yourself with to lean on. It makes all the difference. I could not agree more that friends and family are important!!!

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  3. Diane, you are brave to share here on your blog. You have written such a meaningful post that is absolutely true. I know in my times of heartache I have relied on my tribe to help me out and I have been oh so touched by those that unexpectedly reached out. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you deal with your situation. ~Amy

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