A friend can often remind you of who you really are.
Today a friend of mine, who I will call “Stella”, asked me to read something that she had written for an article that will soon be published about her. In the article she details how she lost everything that ever meant anything to her, the love of her life, family, friends, home, belongings, even her faith. It got so bad in fact that she attempted to take her own life and would have succeeded had it not been for a friend who intervened. I for one am glad that she failed in that mission.
Stella goes on to write that after much sorrow, some soul searching and a helping hand, she has been able to get back on her feet. She has renewed her faith, has a roof over her head, got back a few cherished possessions and has reconnected with friends & family. Stella is, to sum it up in one word, happy.
A few weeks ago, Stella invited a couple of friends and I over for dinner. When I walked into Stella’s apartment, I noticed that her place was sparsely furnished and that her cabinets did not have many dishes, I was saddened. I did not feel pity, I did not judge, instead I thought of how familiar this scene looked. Then I instantly thought of everything that I have and how important my possessions are to me. How I could never get by without this kitchen gadget or have to make do with just the necessities. Needless to say, I put the thought to the back of my mind and promised I would re-visit it later.
We had a memorable evening. Stella cooked an incredible meal, which she started with appetizers and a salad, dinner was a delicious pork roast with all the trimmings. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and finished it up with some Italian bakery cookies. I could not have asked for a better meal or better company.
At one point in the evening I marveled at a drawing on Stella’s wall only to find that it was actually Stella who had drawn it. That led to Stella sharing some of the other things that she had drawn and created in her earlier years. I was taken by the sparkle in Stella’s eyes and the pride in her voice and she described each one of the designs and drawings that she had created. It was an amazing thing for me to witness knowing the sadness that Stella has seen over the last few years. I knew at that moment that regardless of how little Stella owned she possessed something money cannot buy. Stella had love in her heart and happiness in her soul. It warmed my heart and I knew at that moment that Stella would be alright.
When I arrived home a few hours later and walked inside I took a moment to gaze at my home and my possessions and then it hit me. I realized why Stella’s sparsely furnished apartment made me sad. It was as though I was revisiting a place I knew not too long ago. A time when I lost everything that meant the world to me, love, home, family, friends and possessions. I realized that Stella and I had more in common than I had ever thought.
I reminded myself that like before, I could do without the nice home, without the possessions. My joy and my happiness are my own and no one will ever take that away from me. Like Stella, the joy and happiness I feel inside is not determined by what I have, what I own. It is the way I feel. It is the well being of my family and my friends. It is realizing that I am loved and that I will be missed if I should cease to exist. I am not saying that I am ready to give away all that I have worked so how to achieve, however, I know that if I lost it all today, I could still find happiness and love within myself.
Thank you Stella for reminding me of where I’ve been, where I am heading and what brings me true happiness.
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