“Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.” – Albert Schweitzer
When I arrived at Purdue University to begin my undergraduate degree in engineering, the Dean called a meeting in one of the lecture halls for all of the incoming freshmen. His talk inspired us, but at the end, he asked us to look at our neighbors to our right and left. “When you graduate, neither of those students will still be in engineering.”
Not very encouraging.
It turned out earning a degree in mechanical engineering was very difficult for me, and involved four years of constant studying, concentrating, pencil-in-hand while one of my friends attempted to teach another concept to me, again. One of the true reasons I made it through is no secret. I owe it to my friends.
My first year, a woman with a beaming smile called to me from across a room and asked if I wanted to be part of a mentoring program for female engineering students. She said it would involve making friends, and that there would be food at the monthly meetings. At the mention of food, I was sold.
For the next four years, that mentoring program became part of my daily life. I not only participated as a freshman, mentored by a senior who had already made it through hard parts and encouraged me through my own, but I became a leader for the team which led the mentoring program. Meeting with others who shared similar values and struggles became part of my life … it helped me through engineering school, and it continues to help me today.
The month of July has been a time of friends for me. I spent a week with my dearest friend in Boston, with our sons, at the beginning of the month. And sprinkled throughout the rest, friends have stepped in and helped me through countless new and current struggles. Life sometimes isn’t easy, but friends make it so much more bearable.
Friends (and my sons) are the greatest gifts I could’ve ever imagined.
I know that through it all, I am deeply grateful for the new friends I’ve made at work, the incredible group of friends I work with on GreatNewBooks.org. And the group of wonderful, goofy, constant friends who come alongside me daily — they’ve made all the difference. We sit together around various kitchen islands or in backyards, and soon there is laughter. The precious longtime friends who know me so well that we’re family, they help me to keep my light burning.
Life is better in every way because of friends.
A few of my favorite quotes on hard times, and friends …
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H Schuller
“To have darkness behind me, in front of me a bright sky, flickering lights on the water and to feel it on the stony face of the southern sun.” – Julia Hartwig
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino
What do you value most about your friends?