The plane was approaching John f. Kennedy International airport, flying over Long Island homes and mansions dotted with swimming pools and tennis courts below. One of these houses was my home a couple of months earlier. Today, I was coming back from Pakistan to join my daughter in Old Brookville. She had stayed there with my friends, so that she could continue attending her school. Twenty years ago, when I first flew into New York, I was astonished to feel the excitement of starting my life in New York City. Today, I had no home address. I was scared and incapable of guessing what future would hold.
So began the tortuous descent. The bigger question, of course, was to find a place to live. Waiting at the terminal, I saw my friend holding my daughter’s hand and hurrying to pick me up. Right at that moment, I felt that it was going to be all right. I will make it again. The very thought brought a smile to my face.
There was more than a touch of support from my group of friends throughout this period of turmoil. Because when one is sailing smoothly, one never realizes that you will need this support and approval so desperately. I was very uncomfortable with myslf. It seemed as if I would be judged, “You did not care enough about your family”……..Or “You were too busy playing tennis all day,”………Or you were a social butterfly,”…Or may may be you did not love him,”..
And I expected myself to say,”How dare you, how dare you say that. I did not care about my family?”
It never happened. Not once.
Instead, they always said things like, of course, your house was a pretty secure house, full of life and laughter, where we loved to gather for barbecue, or a game of tennis, or a dip in the pool, and where we used to leave our kids for sleep overs. And the longer they talked to me, the more I found the strength to encourage myself to go on with life and worry less about what I had left behind.
In one of his interviews, after his wrist surgery, Jimmy Connors said, “If you can count ONE on your fingers as a friend, you are lucky.” This was the time in his life, when resuming tennis as a career was questionable, depending on recovery. He was no longer a hot commodity, being saught after by giant corporates to promote their products, media frenzy and friends disappeared from his life.
This statement has quite an impact on me. I can count friends on all ten fingers and some more.
I have not stopped counting my blessings ever since. I look at my friends as a very precious gift and will cherish them always.
I am no longer desperate for approval…………….and I am a BELEIVER.
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