Three months ago, my best friend got in an accident that left her with bruises, cuts, sprains, torn muscles, trauma, broken ribs, and two broken legs.
Today she made her way across the hospital floor with a walker.
As I watched her, my heart, my face, my entire soul beamed with pride. “That’s my best friend,” I said to anyone who passed us by, “Look at her.”
As I walked next to her, slowly, watching her feet take small steps and watching her smile at the nurses and hospital staff, I realized something that is so heartbreaking and beautiful it’s difficult to put into words—life really is about the little things.
Life is about picking yourself up when you fall. It’s about learning to smile when smiling feels like the hardest thing you can do. It’s about focusing on what you can do, on what you have, on what is good rather than bad.
It’s having two broken legs, a banged up body, an arm that can’t move, and a head that’s pounding, and saying, “Well, at least I can still talk.”
My best friend reminded me that things will be okay. They won’t always be the same; they won’t always be easy, but somehow and some way they will turn out alright in the end.
Suffering is a natural part of our lives. We lose loved ones, we get hurt, we fall down, we watch others destroy themselves, we see disasters and rape and death and pain and fear—and yet, we somehow find the strength to carry on. That’s incredible. That’s so often underestimated. That’s so often overlooked.
A man stopped my friend, as we walked the outside perimeter of her hospital. He handed her a card and smiled at her, thanked her for changing his life.
“Remember,” he said, “what’s the only constant in life?”
I smiled, knowing his answer already.
He wished her good luck on her journey and stepped through the hospital doors. I found myself wanting to cry just by the sheer wonder of it all—how strangers can feel like family, how tiny moments can change your heart, how we meet people who shift our lives in ways we never imagined.
And how he was right, change really is the only thing we can count on.
Change, in the ways that things will get harder. Change in the way things will get better. Change in the way things will always be changing and that’s a part of life where we have to grab ahold of, then take a deep breath, hold on, and let go, all in balance.
As I watched my best friend take her first steps, smile with such pride at how far she’s come, and see the world in a new way, it made me slow down. It made me remember that things, no matter how awful and frustrating and scary they are, will always be okay.
You learn to guide new leg muscles into walking motion. You learn how to battle life without a spouse, significant other, friend, or sibling. You learn to move on after a break up. You learn to love people after pain. You learn how to push forward when you’re feeling defeated.
You learn to be okay in this crazy world.
And you will be. You will be okay.