A Friend In Need
by Jake Block
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
— A pretty damned old proverb.
I have a friend. She’s been a friend for well over 25 years. She’s “a good soul,” and while she, like we all, have some rough edges at times, she’s the kind of friend who will step out of her way to help a friend or associate when the chips are down. I’ve sometimes shaken my head in wonder as she’s come to the aid of others in her circle, sometimes sacrificing time, sometimes sacrificing financial gain, and sometimes even sacrificing money when she could have used it herself, just to take a bit of the burden off of someone she cared about in their time of trouble. She’s forgiven debt. She’s driven them hours away to doctor’s appointments, she’s fed them, housed them and provided like she would for family, and worried about them when she had to be away.
She’s not a wealthy woman. She works hard for her money and should be at the point in her life where she’s experiencing the “golden years” we all hear so much about. But she’s still working. She’s still providing for her immediate family, and extended family as well. A disaster in their homes becomes a disaster for her, and she will, without hesitation, open her door and her pocketbook to do what she can do to help them survive and thrive. I’ve seen her fight like a mama lion to get them what they need, even as she fought through her own lingering health issues, putting her pain and concerns on the back burner until she was sure that they would be ok. Then, often without adequate thanks, if any at all, she silently poked and prodded at the monsters in her own closet and held them at bay while simultaneously working to provide and to solve her own family’s dilemmas.
While those around her thrived and their families and their job benefits grew, she asked for nothing. Once in a while, they might share a meal with her. Most often, she settled for holidays together, when they could manage to get away. And I’ve seen her grow from the lovely young woman with the spark of life in her eyes, to an elegantly aged fine wine of a woman, with dignity, and with pride and with respect for what she’s accomplished and what the remaining years of her life have in store.
And, as it happens to us all, as we age and we share our lives with those left to us, some medical emergencies have crept into her life and, one by one, she bested them. She’s doing fairly well now, but with personal limitations that she can deal with locally, but when confronted with a problem with a loved one that would need to be worked on in another city, hours from home, she found that her inability to drive as well as she used to, presented a problem. Worried about her loved one who must have the treatment, yet still as prideful as ever, she was sure a way could be found to get him there and back. All she needed was someone to take a few hours out of their busy schedule, as she had many times for others. She swallowed her pride, and asked.
Silence. Excuses. Seems that everyone has something better to do that help someone who, although THEY had something better to do, found a way to help them when THEY were in need, asking nothing in return. She was worried and running out of options. Most people would raise their voice and demand or curse those who had used her and now have no time for her when She was in need. She’s not the sort.
She’s not guilty of altruism, because even as she was helping others, in her heart… bolstered by the promises “if you ever need anything,” they would be there when she did indeed need a helping hand. As I like to say, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Help in her case will come from someone she didn’t ask. She’ll get through this, at least this time.
But I hope that those who called on her for help when they needed it feel the sting of shame on their reddened faces for a long, damned time to come. Undoubtedly, they’ll be on her doorstep again at the first sign of personal trouble, hat in hand. I’m hoping my friend sends them packing or hands them a bill for whatever service they need.
Some friends in need are indeed friends. But most of them are only friends when the weather is fair, and when it’s not, they’s shut in tight, and you’re on your own!
The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God