Suffering Friends 2/12/21

Worries by Richard Bleil

If this is the month of love, why do I have so many friends struggling right now?

One of my friends whom I met online through a former student of mine but haven’t really known for very long was the first, I suppose. She posted on her social media page a comment or post or something that made me concerned for her emotional well-being. As such, I reached out to her to be sure she was okay and see if there was anything I could do for her. Although I don’t know her well, her past posts have always led me to believe that she has a good heart so my intention is truly honorable. I just want to help if I can. She informed me that her marriage was coming to an end, which came as something as a shock.

I’ve kept in touch with her, periodically checking in to see how she is holding up. Today we chatted for a little bit, and she made a couple of interesting observations. First, she pointed out that this pandemic is just terrible for stress and relationships. Typically, friends and events get couples out and about and provide a little bit of a buffer between them to provide the kind of personal space that everybody, regardless of their relationship status, periodically need. Now couples and families are jammed together, stuck inside (at least more than before the pandemic) and without that buffer. The second observation she made is that it’s easy to make relationships look better on social media than they actually are. Sad but true.

This, in fact, was exemplified by my second friend whose relationship is on the rocks. This remarkable young woman has been with him long enough that I’m sure they fall under “common law marriage” if it’s recognized in their state. She has been a great friend of mine from many years ago, and although we’ve never met in person, she is probably one of my best friends.

She tells me that for the past year, things haven’t been good and are not improving. It breaks my heart that she is going through this as her social media photos paint a very happy relationship. I’ve always thought of them as my favorite “not married” married couples. Apparently, things were not as rosy as I had thought.

Both of these women, by the way, are stunning. Physically they are just drop dead gorgeous (think model level beautiful), but their real beauty lies beneath their exterior organs that we see. These are the sweetest, smartest, strongest, most amazing women you can imagine, and if you look beyond their appearance, you’ll realize they are even more beautiful than they look. I think about the poor men who are losing them and I actually feel pity because there is no way that either of them will ever do better. It may take them a while, but they will eventually regret their loss to their very core.

A third friend of mine is struggling not because of her relationship, but because of this pandemic. Her child, who was born with a compromised immune system already, has tested positive for Covid-19. So far, her symptoms are relatively mild (the worse of which seems to be a bad rash that cannot be soothed) for which I am thankful, and truly hope it gets no worse. Unfortunately, she lives in one of the few states that has refused to require any kind of protective practices including masks in public. Tonight, I am thinking about her daughter, and feeling extremely upset at everybody who has ever refused to wear a mask, or who has spread the gospel of masks making no difference. This is a very sweet and innocent child, and I’ve no doubt that the anti-mask movement is largely to blame for her current condition.

Largely, this is a post just for me. I’m very worried and heartbroken and, frankly, feeling helpless to help these wonderful women (and others I’ve not mentioned), but I also want to share with you something I said to one of these women. I hope against hope that these words can be an inspiration to them and anybody else reading this blog who needs this reminder. I said: “It might not feel like it now, but you’ll emerge stronger, more independent, and better prepared for the right partner. You might feel weak now, but you’re stronger than you know.”

If you’re struggling right now, know that you are not alone. Even though I’m on the upswing now, I’ve struggled for a very long time, through divorce, death, serious medical conditions and more. I know what it’s like to be stuck in those situations, and how easy it is to believe that you are alone, not only as you struggle through the fog but also that you must be the only one feeling so broken. We all get broken sometimes, but you can get through this. You must, because you are loved. Never doubt that.

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