I remember my friend, Jenna. We were best friends in elementary school together. We were practically inseparable. In fact, and please do judge me because this is ridiculous, I sat in my room for hours on end one summer tracing and retracing Jenna's handwriting so we would be that much more alike. I wanted us to have everything in common. Come middle school though, things changed. We changed. We went in two completely different directions. She was an excellent singer and a great artist. I was neither of those things. I chose to take a million gym classes just so I could avoid art classes and choir. We continued to grow apart and come high school, we just did the occasional head nod in the hallway, like "Hey girl! I see you're doing well!", but we never actually talked. As high school progressed, we continued to sink more into our niches--mine was Student Government and hers was show choir. So from a distance, we watched each other grow into young women remembering the friendship we once had and admiring the young woman the other girl had become.
It's crazy to me to think something so great had to come to an end. We were the best of friends but somehow, someway, we grew apart and we were okay with it. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.” I can honestly say that Jenna left footprints on my heart and a few hundred memories in my mind. The late nights (I mean 9 was late for us kiddos back then!), the Girl Scout adventures, the “let’s play like we’re college students” game, and the bike rides around the block all come flooding back to my mind when I think about the past.
Yes, Jenna and I grew apart, but as we grew apart I cultivated a new friendship in High School with Chris. He became my best friend for those four years and after high school. We did everything together from watching “Whose Line is it Anyways?” to late nights playing Chinese checkers to long talks on the back of his pickup. He was my best friend. But again, we grew apart. He went off to the marines and I stayed in Greenwood.
And of course, there’s my twin Rhea. She’s always been in my life and although we hated each other for a while, she means the world to me now. Throughout high school we even plotted against each other every chance we had. It got exhausting. Somewhere along the way though, we grew to like each other and then, eventually, we grew to be best friends (ask our husbands, they can’t take us anywhere together). Rhea and I have so many special memories together—playing softball since we were 4, being each other’s maid of honors, staying up way too late on a school night or work night just to talk about life, and bonding over our love of the same TV shows. God gave me the best friend I could have ever asked for when he gave me a twin.
So, why am I talking about friendship, other than the fact that today is National Best Friend Day? Well, I heard a statistic that some 30% of high school students are clinically depressed. I didn't look up this statistic so it could be lower, but the fact that it's above even 5% is shocking! I know we live in a messed up world, but we were created for companionship, and not just between a husband and wife. We were made in need of feeling loved. Friends provide that.
If you're reading this blog, you should know by now that I believe in God and in his love, and as a part of his design I also believe he made friends for us. He made us need companionship. Yes, we find it in him, but sometimes, a physical hug is necessary. I pray and I ask God for help, and often, his help comes in the form of other human beings--a hug from your mom, a note from a friend, a flower from your husband.
So, my challenge to you after all that is to find someone who needs you to just be a friend and be one. You can help them in their most difficult times. I have Rhea, my husband and about a dozen other people in my life, but what about the 30% of students who are depressed! Why is this happening? They don’t have the love they need. They aren’t shown what true friendship can be. Be a friend. By being a friend, you can change a life, maybe even save one.