I was in the store, shopping for treats and trinkets for my children’s Easter baskets.
It was the season for recognition, reflection and celebration of the ultimate sacrifice – Our savior and Lord dying upon that cross.
As I was walking through the store, my phone rang and I just happened to see it, it was still on silent from being in church. When I answered the phone, she said “I need to ask you for something.”
I gave pause because she is the type of person who NEVER asks for ANYTHING.
My ears and heart were wide open.
She rambled it all out, almost in one sentence.
“You know my mom has cancer right? And she started her chemo recently and it’s crazy. I am going to cut my hair because she lost hers. Like it literally just fell out. I just got my hair braided, so I am going to wear them for a few weeks and then I am ready to chop it all off. So I wanted to see if you would cut yours too. I think you should talk to your husband cause I know it affects you both. But can you see what he says?”
Friends will need you
She is one the most selfless people I know. It still trips me out as I look back on that moment, that even in her time of need she was so considerate as to consider the feelings of my husband and the effects of others rather than just herself.
I felt a huge gulp in my throat. I had several emotions come over me.
I’d be lying if I said the first of them was for her or even her mom.
I think the first thing I felt was instantly overwhelmed. After a few moments it came over me that if I were in the position to have to make this same kind of request and expect a positive result it would probably be her that I would call. But I guess I didn’t know that I was her “person” too, so I was totally caught off guard.
I let her know that I would talk to my husband about it and get back to her. We ended our phone conversation with an “ok” from both sides and I walked around the store a few moments longer trying to digest it all.
I am not exactly sure why, but I was nervous to tell my husband that I was going to cut all my hair off again. Maybe because after I had cut it all off the last time, I promised him it was the last time.
I’ve been down this big chop road a time or two.
This last time, it was a few months after we got married and I had grown it out. I had wanted to go natural so bad, but backslid several times for several reasons (usually in the form of a full blown melt down). I proposed that I start fresh and chop it off. And by chops it off, I meant my hubby and I almost had matching haircuts – which was his issue with it.
He doesn’t mind me with short hair but he really had a thing about rubbing my head and it feeling like his, or how his use to feel before genetics set in and left him bald. So when he said he supported my efforts to go natural and cut it off, I made the promise and then the beeline to my barber and chopped it ALL off…
Fast forward to now, two and a half years later, and a head full of healthy grown hair and I was looking forward to my first summer with REAL BIG hair.
If you know me, you know I crush on big hair….
After leaving the store, I got in the car, where my husband was waiting on me, and he instantly asked what was wrong. he just knows me like that. I told him I had just spoken to my friend and what she asked. She wanted me to talk to him about it and see what he had to say.
A part of me wanted him to use the vote that even she had given him to veto it; to say “absolutely not, remember what you told me….”
but he would never.
He would never impose those feelings of tug of war on me. He would never tell me what I am allowed to do, he would never come between me and someone that I love.
“WOW! That’s huge.”
That was all he said. That was it.
We rode home on our five minute drive in silence. As he pulled in the garage I asked, “Is that all you got?”
Still wanting him to cast a “no” vote.
He replied, “Really B, what can you say to that? And it’s her.” she is one of the people that everyone in my family loves.
At that moment, as he went to get my sleeping son out the car and take him into the house, I sat there, in the car, in the garage and silently cried. I cried because it really set in what she had asked me, what my answer was.
Real friends support each other
Normally I could care less about hair. I have chemically processed it, colored it, cut it and grew it back, time and time again, every since my momma gave me the reins on it. Literally have had it fried, dyed and laid to the side…. My hair has never defined my beauty for me.
We met in college. We were both interested in this one social organization and would cross paths at their events. I became a member and she didn’t, but she still came to our events. Eventually after we talked so many times, we just clicked. We never had a “talk often BFF kind of friendship”, but we shared common core values, had a mutual respect for each other and our differences, and we laughed together ALL.THE.TIME.
Over time she became one of those people that I never talked to often, because we both live really busy lives, but I trusted her. We could talk about anything and she always kept it real with me. She wasn’t scared to tell me what I needed to hear versus what I wanted to hear and that just didn’t come often – she was definitely a keeper.
Real friends tell you what you need to hear.
A defining moment in our friendship was when I hadn’t spoken to her in a long time. can’t even tell you how long it had been. I called her to tell her I was getting married and I wanted her to be in my wedding. She didn’t ask not one question besides – “what do you need me to do?” She was so supportive the whole way through and she did whatever was needed, and again laughing the whole way through.
A defining moment in the friendship that my hubby and I shared long before we got married was the one time he demonstrated that he needed me. This was after always being there and practically demanding that I didn't worry about him.
This was so reminiscent of that time in my life. Here a person that I care about, who is always there, who never asks for or requires anything of me, actually needing me.
[bctt tweet=”sometimes, you only get one chance to be a #realfriend…” username=”IamKenyaRae”]
I’ve often reflected on my ability to be a good friend, I often feel like I am the needy one in my friendships. But I also want my friends to know that I am there for them. I had to, better yet – wanted to, be there for her.
Sometimes you only get one chance to be a real friend.
At this point, I feel closer to her than I ever have. In a weird none mushy way. cause I am so not mushy (sike!).
Going through things together, brings friends closer.
I hope that she understands how much I love her and support her. How much I am here for her, and how much her friendship means to me. I appreciate her telling me about myself when no one else would, but loving me for who I am. I appreciate her for loving me and my family and always being there when it really mattered.
[bctt tweet=”We are all put here, on this earth, for something far greater than ourselves.” username=”IamKenyaRae”]
We are all put here, on this earth, for something far greater than ourselves. There are greater sacrifices that have been made, and may even be requested of me some day. It is not a coincidence the how and when all of this happened.
Friends support makes a difference.
Me cutting my hair isn't going to make her mother’s cancer go away. However, I am praying that it does leave soon. Me cutting my hair isn't going to make her feel any better about what her mom is going through. My hair will grow, and our friendship will continue to do the same.
I say all this to say, sometimes, you only get one chance to be a real friend. The things that you place value on aren’t really that valuable when you take the time to look at the grand scheme of things. If your friend(s) need you, be there for them as you would need them to be for you.
In all of this, I realize now more than ever – I am not my hair (in the words of India Arie). I am a friend.