I just returned from spending several hours at the hospital bedside of a woman who has become like a sister to me over these past 20 years. It seems amazing even as I ponder that, because when I first met her, I was not even sure I approved of her.
Now I marvel that she has been an important part of my life for more years than I previously spent in the company and companionship of my own sisters. When you make your adult home far from your immediate family, this is something I have found important: Find new people to make your "Family." Of course, no one can ever replace my family, or my own brother and sisters. But for the every day ups and downs of living life, you need a "sister" close by who can hear your heart. She may not agree with everything you do, but she has your back.
So today, we had another heart scare... which blessedly turned out to be other than heart this time. Still, it gave me a chance to reconfirm my love for her and for her sweet family. It gave me another opportunity to stand with her in crisis and be a part of that tribe that cares about its own.
It is important to have family. It is important to have friends.
There was a spell in my life when I could not take one more friend moving away, so I shut up my heart to letting anyone become that close again. That was a foolish choice, in retrospect. Hurt and loss is always going to be a part of life. It is healthy to learn how to face it and deal with it.
Some times we have to walk through the shadows to appreciate the light.