The Promise

5rachellefriedmanI recently read an article that moved me to tears and gave me a new appreciation for the bonds of friendship.

The article can pretty much be summed up from a paragraph near the beginning paired with one from near the end:

“It was weeks before my wedding in 2010, and my four bridesmaids threw me the best bachelorette party I could ever dream of filled with dancing, dinner and fun. To cap off the perfect night, we decided to take a moonlight swim. When a close friend playfully pushed me into the pool — two feet too far from the deep end — I broke my neck upon impact, became paralyzed from the chest down and would never walk again. That night, the five of us all shared an unspoken agreement to never reveal the name of who had pushed me no matter what. Our bonds of friendship would not be broken.”

“People painted us with broad brushes. Whereas I was the sweet, wonderful example of the human spirit, she embodied the childish idiot who pushed me. Since I was left paralyzed, I’m the good one. Since she pushed me in the pool, she’s the villain.

But the truth is: I’ve pushed her in the pool dozens of times. How easily could our roles have been reversed? We did not realize then how dangerous our seemingly innocent actions really were.”

The main point that moved me is in the first paragraph–the promise the five friends made to one another–but the second section is important to understand the context of the pact.

So, first, I’m deeply touched by Friedman’s ability to forgive. Her friend made a mistake that would forever alter Friedman’s life, and yet she was able to forgive her friend (she said she never even felt angry at her). She put her friendship first, and as she said, the roles could have easily been reversed. I’m inspired to be a better, more compassionate friend after reading this article.

Second, I think it’s incredible that the group of friends had the foresight to never reveal to person who pushed Friedman in the pool. Sure, the person has to live with that knowledge, but rather than let the rest of the world vilify her, they promised to keep her identity a secret. Again, I think that’s a beautiful testament to friendship.

Third, I’m always moved by the power of love when someone’s life changes and their spouse stays by their side. Of course, they’d be a complete jerk to leave their side, but still…I imagine that your life completely changes when an accident like this happens. There was a series of photos on Buzzfeed a while ago showing a year or two in the life of a young couple after the husband lost his legs in Iraq. It was so beautiful to see how much they loved each other and how committed they were to each other.

What do you think about this story?