This I Believe

Michele - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on July 11, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: setbacks

I believe in the power of friendship.

I have a good life. I’m young (relatively) and healthy (as far as I know). I have a loving family and good job. I know that I have a good life.

But I hit a rough patch once upon a time. It wasn’t all that extraordinary. It happens to millions of people everyday. But it’s my defining period of time and where I learned what I learned.

I was married and then I got divorced. My husband left me for a librarian at his law firm. He and I had met in law school and seemed the perfect couple in many ways. A life long New Yorker, I moved to Madison, WI after we got married. I left everyone and everything I knew. I adjusted and my friends were all amazed by my adaptation (if a bit incredulous). And for about 3 yrs., I was happy. Things then got hard, as they do in marriages, and it was easier for my ex-husband to spend time with our mutual friend. Eventually, he left me for her. My world shifted. Everything I thought was true became untrue. The person I trusted deceived me. The promises we exchanged felt like lies. I thought I had known my husband inside out. But I didn’t. I thought he was my best friend. But he wasn’t.

In this time when I felt so disillusioned, my friends stepped up. My college friend Maggie immediately sent me a ticket to Washington to visit her, to get out of town. Allison and Lara sent me 6 pints of Ben & Jerry’s at work. Lisa sent me wine. Megan organized a get together of my friends from across the country in my new home in Milwaukee. Maggie and Jessica came to my divorce hearing. And after the hearing, we had a party that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Friends came and drank and danced with me. The day I got divorced I felt as loved as the day I got married. There were a million other little kindnesses—cards, calls, trips. All to distract or strengthen me. It worked.

And it hasn’t stopped. My friends have helped me with a move to Chicago. Welcomed me here. They’ve helped me through this minefield called dating in your 30s. The pep talks, the care packages, the visits keep coming. I enjoy my everyday because of my friends. I can only hope to repay them someday with the same generosity and steadfastness that they’ve given me.

I feel a little like a teenager in high school gushing about my girlfriends and writing “BFF” in a yearbook. But I when the one person who swore that he would never leave did, my friends taught me that I could still trust in them. They’ve allowed me to keep believing in people, they’ve taught me that unconditional love still exists. So I believe in the power of friendship. It is my most profound belief.