In Others’ Words: Friendship

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller, first deaf-blind woman to earn a bachelor’s degree, who went on to become an internationally-known speaker & author

I am blessed with wonderful friends. If I took the time to share their names and stories … well, my blog post from here to eternity would be about how my friends have enriched my life. Challenged me. Changed me.

Today’s quote made me think of my “safe harbor” friend Fran S. We’ve been friends … forever. Her smile won me over years and years ago when I was the mom of one little boy. I remember meeting her and thinking, “Oh, I could like her.”

I had no idea.

Fran journeyed with me through some of the darkest times of my life as I tried to make sense of hurts from my past. One day I struggled so much I even walked out on my husband in a “I’m running away from home” kind of way.

We lived in a small town in Florida. Where do you run when there’s not even a mall where you live? McDonald’s? I drove around and around town, crying. Stopped to call my husband and let him know I was OK, but no, I wasn’t coming home yet.

And then, for some reason, I turned my car toward Fran’s house. As I pulled into her driveway, I saw Fran standing in her doorway. As if she was waiting for me.

As I walked up to her door, she met me and wrapped me in a hug.

“I prayed you would come here.”

Her whispered words stunned me. My husband had called Fran and told her I was having a tough day (understatement) and Fran prayed … and waited. For me.

A woman of faith.

My safe harbor friend.

In Your Words: When has a friend walked with you through dark times? When have you had the chance to walk with a friend through a dark valley?

Photo by gizmo/istockphoto.com
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28 Comments

  1. January 18, 2012, 5:53 am   /  Reply

    When my father was diagnosed with cancer and then when he died I was blessed with some amazing friends who walk with me through that darkness. I’m not sure I could have made it through without their love, support and understanding.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 7:05 am   /  Reply

      TC,
      I am sorry for your loss … and thankful to hear friends were there for you.

  2. January 18, 2012, 6:23 am   /  Reply

    Would you believe yesterday? When a hearing friend phoned before getting the emergency email? I’m thankful you had/have Fran and that you sometimes form friendships on the basis of a smile.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 7:05 am   /  Reply

      Ah, smiles. They can hint at so much potential.
      🙂

  3. January 18, 2012, 6:29 am   /  Reply

    About six years ago I went through two bouts of deeply difficult seasons. I had dear friends support me and shoulder the pain with me. I remember them fondly since we’ve moved, but am grateful God always hooks me up with trusted friends. It’s cool how I consider a handful of online friends in that light now, too.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 7:06 am   /  Reply

      Wendy,
      I agree how the online community can become one of true encouragement. Your words, both via email and your blog, often speak to my heart in such a timely, personal way.

  4. January 18, 2012, 6:30 am   /  Reply

    I have one friend I have known since we were 10. That gives us well over four decades together. I love having someone in my life who knows my backstory because she was there for a lot of it. I have other friends who have entered my life in the last five years and dived right into the deep end. I don’t know how I would keep my head above water without them.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 7:07 am   /  Reply

      Love that analogy, Olivia — the friends who are willing to dive into the deep end of our lives.

  5. Jeanne T
    January 18, 2012, 7:21 am   /  Reply

    Loved the quote by Helen Keller. I had tears in my eyes by the time I finished reading your post. I love how God places friends in our lives who “get us.” Thanking God for giving you Fran.

    Going through our time of infertility was one of those dark times in my life. God used friends to encourage me, to pray for me, to listen when the tears came. You were one of those who was sensitive to my struggles. Thank you!

    He’s also given me the privilege of walking with friends through difficult times. Most recently, with a friend who’s working through the break up of her marriage. Tough times. God is faithful to give us what we need, whether we’re living the challenging times, or walking it through it with another.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 7:51 am   /  Reply

      I had tears in my eyes as I wrote that post, Jeanne. Even though that experience is way-back in the rear view mirror, it’s a tender, precious memory.
      Friends who are available to us … to walk through the dark times with us … they can make all the difference.
      I’m thankful to know I’ve been able to encourage you. And I know your truly sensitive to others who are hurting.

  6. January 18, 2012, 7:34 am   /  Reply

    You know what is extra awesome about the story you told? The way your husband knew to call your friend. He recognized the power of that friendship too…so cool!

    I went through a tough year my first year out of college. I’d had this grand plan in my head and it came to a skidding halt. Absolutely what needed to happen and absolutely, even at the time, deep down I knew it was right. Still, I was like the Cedar Point of emotional roller coaster existence. But I had two friends in particular who were constantly there at all the right times…LOVE those girls. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 7:52 am   /  Reply

      Sometimes … a lot of times, girlfriends make all the difference.
      And, yes, my husband is a wise, wise man.

  7. January 18, 2012, 8:00 am   /  Reply

    When my mom died, several of my friends were there in an I’ll-drop-everything sort of way. There is such power in friendship and I’m so grateful to have several friends I consider dear to me.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 8:07 am   /  Reply

      Lindsay: So true. There is power in friendship. Power to comfort. Power to offer hope.
      Friendship makes a huge, huge difference in a person’s life.

  8. January 18, 2012, 8:13 am   /  Reply

    This post touched me deeply. I am so thankful that God has placed some friends like Fran in my life. I need physical hands sometimes to pull my up by my bootstraps, or flip flops. And I am always thankful when He uses me to be “Fran” as well.

    Lovely, lovely post.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 8:35 am   /  Reply

      This is a cherished friendship moment for me too, Jessica — and I am thankful Fran is a forever friend. I am certain you are a “Fran” to many.

  9. January 18, 2012, 8:17 am   /  Reply

    Friends like this are absolutely priceless. God has placed 3 such friends in my life and I thank Him for them every day.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 8:36 am   /  Reply

      Yes, Donna, friends like Fran are priceless treasures.

  10. Megan DiMaria
    January 18, 2012, 11:47 am   /  Reply

    Sweet story. It brought a lump to my throat. I often thank God for the friends He’s given me. I so admire and appreciate them!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 12:28 pm   /  Reply

      I’m with you, Megan. My friends are some of the people I admire the most.

  11. January 18, 2012, 3:08 pm   /  Reply

    I haven’t been in too many valleys but I know there are people in my life who would walk through them with me, if I needed it. Fran S sounds wonderful. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 3:14 pm   /  Reply

      To this day I know that Fran is there for me, even though we lives thousands of miles apart … she’s still my safe harbor friend. Always will be. I’m thankful you know you have those kind of friends too.

  12. Fran Shaw
    January 18, 2012, 3:14 pm   /  Reply

    My dearest Beth, you know how to make an old lady cry! Thankful, thankful, thankful I am for you!! And how many times have you been there for me? How many tears have I cried on your shoulder? How many times have we laughed our heads off together (Victoria’s Secret)? Countless! Yes, you are my forever friend and I praise God for you!!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 3:55 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, VS.
      A story for another blog post perhaps?
      🙂
      Love you, Fran.

  13. January 18, 2012, 4:19 pm   /  Reply

    Loved this post! Made me think of my mom, my best friend. God gave me an incredible gift in her in more ways that most can say. And though she is so skinny, and frankly weighs less than I do, she has the strength of an ox. The heart of a true warrior. Her prayers shielded my heart from bullies, warred against my pain. Her words bolstered my worth. Her arms were a safe haven. Her shoulders eased my brudens. Her hands picked me up and dusted me off. And her heart showered me with God’s love and grace. I pray everyone has a friend like that. Glad to know that you do too!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 18, 2012, 4:57 pm   /  Reply

      What a wonderful, mom-honoring post, Amy.

  14. margohclark
    January 19, 2012, 1:11 pm   /  Reply

    Oh Beth,
    Looks like we have shared Fran over the years.
    I remember her taking me to Annapolis Mall years ago when I desperately needed a friend to be near. She understood my pain, my confusion and let me vent and cry. She was my ‘safe place’ on that dark day.
    There are certain people that the Lord puts on this planet to help hold us together in the rough times. Fran is definitely one of them.
    I also remember a certain baby shower given by Fran and you Beth, that was a highlight in my life! Thank you both so much. You both are ‘fleshed-out’ reasons why my heart sings.
    Love you both,
    Margo

    • Beth Vogt
      January 19, 2012, 1:26 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, I remember that baby shower too, Margo.
      And the privilege of delivering a pizza to you, my “sister,” right after Margo was born.
      🙂
      You are a forever friend too — one who has shared much wisdom with me through the years.

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