This was the moment I had been praying for...
This was the moment. And in one moment, in the darkest place of someone's life in the one setting I'd never wished to be at, my entire world had changed. I had realized that my life, even in the ups and downs, was easy: it was like a calm sea with a tide that changed subtly and softly. That thought took the air right out of me as I saw my friend Roo (that'll be her name for today), sitting there with big eyes and a smile that I had seen on her face many moons ago. We embraced as I walked around the table greeting the others who were there. I had not the slightest clue as to what to say... "How are you doing?" seemed shallow and predictable and I knew that her answer would somehow be predictable as well "Oh, I'm good." With knowing all of that in the back of my head, I asked Roo anyways. Her answer? "Well, it's okay. It can get better," as she laughed the enormous hearty laugh that I hadn't heard in a long time. Her answer was unpredictable and it set the tone for the rest of the night.
Our friends went up to a makeshift stage to sing their two hour set and it gave Roo and I some time alone to talk and catch up. Roo and I go way back. We've seen each other at our high and low points, we've cried together, laughed together, fought with each other and for each other. For a whole year, our friendship was left hanging. But as we sat across each other, debating if the pastrami sandwich would be better with the wasabi aioli sauce, it was like we hadn't seen each other for a mere 24-hours. So much had changed, but so little had changed too. Our lives were in completely different places, but our conversation was genuine, full of heart and still so... comfortable.
Roo and I ate our dinner as our friends performed. Roo talked about how she's been wanting her life to change for quite sometime now and how she feels strong and brave enough to go about such change. We quipped back and forth about how life gets messy and dark but how that on one hand we can each count the amount of people who never left. It was amazing to me when she said, "You're on that hand, Che'." It brought me to tears; big tears that I tried to hold onto by keeping my eye lids open. She then went on to share about how there were days and nights that she thought she wouldn't make it so she would click open her Instagram and go through my feed and reassure herself that in fact, she will make it.
And I believe it. She. Will. Make. It. To the very end, with her mess as a testimony and as a story of how people screw up and life gets thrown around, turned upside down and hands you the darkest of days. She's going to make it and tell everyone who needs to hear that she did make it. She did succeed. She made it out of the darkness one day at a time with the people who love her right by her side.
There are many things that Roo and I talked about that night. We got to exchange the ever-so powerful "Please, forgive me..." (that one struck the heartstrings), we got to laugh and I got to see strength, life and hope being resurrected in her beautiful big eyes. Although Roo has a tough road ahead of her, as we all do, I know that her recovery will be one that will not only change her life, but those around her as well. If it's one thing I learned, it's that someone's freedom can set another soul free.
"I keep telling myself 'you are worth it! you are worth it. You can make it.'" - Roo.