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To My Friends Who Kept Calling Even When Answering Was Too Painful

The phone doesn’t stop ringing; it is a sure as the tick of a grandfather clock. It has been my constant wake-up call for many different times of my life. It rings when I don’t even want to get out of bed, but that is why it rings. I don’t know who it is. I don’t answer, I don’t even look at the phone, but when I do I see that it is not one person but 10 and they all called multiple times.

How do they all know I need them? I always feared answering the phone or even making the phone call back, because in my darkest pain I knew it would be too hard. I would have to put on my happy face or even harder yet tell them the truth. It could be days, weeks, sometimes maybe months — but it rang every day. Even when I didn’t pick it up I knew they were calling to check in on me, and of course ignoring them only made the calls more constant.

I now know I would have been better off picking up those calls. I know I can’t do everything by myself, no one can, and my friends are there to help me through the tough times. I never took the calls for granted even though I obviously had no idea of what was about to be said on the other end. I do not forget the love that this life has given me, especially from my team of friends I have been blessed with.

I have learned to pick up the phone as much as I can, because it may be the motivation I need to keep moving forward, or maybe it’s an offer for a good trip with the boys or night out with the girls. When my anxiety and health collide, my natural reaction was always to shut out those who help me the most. I have really worked hard to flip those moments into my third rule of living with a chronic illness of telling my story. It sets me free.

But more than anything, I realized if I thought everyone was calling just to help me, I was missing the point. Because at some point they were calling me because they needed help themselves and I missed that
opportunity. Sometimes in the hardest times it too easy to only focus on ourselves and we forget all those who helped get us where we are.

Don’t forget to pick up the phone. It may have nothing to do with you — it may be all about helping those who have helped you get as far as you have.

Thanks for calling. Even if all I heard was the ringer, I know that you cared.