The divorce experience led to a move to a new home with my daughter as we began a new phase of our life. Although for much of my life I had no real friends, friendships developed with people where I worked and with a special neighbor. Although my fear of friendship was also present, I began to lighten up some, laugh more and socialize. These same friends took my daughter into their hearts and in some ways became the village referred to in the statement “It takes a village to raise a child.” Oh, I made many mistakes as a parent but these friends along with family made such a difference in our lives.
At the time I am not sure I recognized this as I was also lost in worrying about everything. I was involved in a car accident that badly bruised both my knees and an ankle and for awhile I could barely walk. The emergency room doctor sent me home and my neighbor and her husband had to practically carry me into the house. Of course my daughter who was 6 or 7 at the time was terrified. It was a couple of days before my mother could come to help. Here I was with a child and stuck in bed. My sweet daughter tried to assist as best she could. Friends materialized and organized to assist in any way needed. Food was prepared, my daughter taken care of and one friend even bathed me.
To be honest many of the details are a blur in my memory. I have no doubt the accident happened because I was particularly unhappy that day and not paying attention as I drove. It was a wakeup call on many levels. However, I do remember the feeling of gratitude and the beginning recognition of the quiet awesomeness of the giving part of friendship. What a gift to be given the opportunity to see friendship as a positive, supportive experience.
After that time I had ups and downs with relationships like everyone does, but I never totally gave up on reaching out. Special friendships developed that taught me and gave me the opportunity to give. I firmly know that I was meant to work in the social services agency because many seeds were planted that grew over the years. One of those was beginning to feel safe connecting to others.
How do you see your relationships? How does giving fit into them? Reflect on experiences in your life that shaped how you connect to others. Has that changed over time?


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