But there were other friends too, friends who he had worked hard to isolate me from, who I had only a little contact with and who I thought I’d lost. Friends who came rushing across the country to tell me I did the right thing, to simply take me out for coffee for an hour and to support me. I had friends from years and years gone contact me and send me messages of support and encouragement. And I even had new acquaintances who he had prevented me from forming good friendships with offer practical help. I found that actually my best friends (and that includes family too by the way) have always been in the background, thinking of me, waiting for me to realise what surreal thing was happening to me and pick up the pieces of the 19 year old girl he broke and help me put them back together.
Sometimes in life we find we are like a tree full of dead branches that we haven’t noticed died. If we try to put some weight through those branches they’ll simply give way under us. But if we cut them away, we can more easily see the stronger branches that can help take our weight, that can hold us when we need a rest, and with the dead branches gone we can take time to cultivate our tree and build solid relationships with those who are life affirming.
It’s a shame that it can take a terrible life event, or a hard time for us to realise this, and it can be painful when those dead branches are all cut away at once- our tree can look pretty bare. But I’d rather be a small tree with only a few branches that’s growing, healing, thriving and bearing fruit than a huge diseased tree full of dead wood. I’m so grateful for those ‘strong branches’ on my tree of friendship, thank you for holding me up when I have needed it.