One of my closest friends has been struggling with depression for the past five years. Life has not been kind to her. Lots of fears and anxiety have sent her down a dark path of despair. Just the thought of leaving the sanctity of her comfort zone and meeting new people has seemed intolerable to her. This past year she was overcome with sadness, self-pity, and loneliness due to a family tragedy. She alienated most of her friends, and my heart cried out to help her in any way that I could. I remembered that at every year’s end we would get together and speak about our New Year’s resolutions, hoping to make more positive changes in our lives. This year I had some trouble figuring out what mine would be, but I decided not to give it much thought and I concentrated on helping my friend.
Her weekly phone call asking me to visit her came on a day that I was very busy at work. I knew that asking her to come over on my lunch hour would be easier as it wouldn’t take too much time out of my day. At first she declined my offer, but with some encouragement, she finally agreed to take the plunge and visit me. When she arrived, she was filled with tears. She desperately needed to vent her sadness. I listened to her latest tales of woe and tried to console her.
After a while, I asked her to join me in my office so I could check my e-mail. When she walked into the room, her sadness suddenly turned into amazement as she spotted my pot and pan drum set in the corner. My drum sticks were on my desk just waiting to be picked up and played. I noticed her immediate interest and excitingly told her that if she tried them out, it would surely help ease her anxiety, lower her blood pressure, and transport her to a more positive mindset. She laughed at this thought but curiosity got the better of her. She walked over and picked up the drum sticks. An expression of shock hit her face as I told her to beat one pan as hard as she could to demonstrate her mood. I could tell that she felt embarrassed by my request, but with some coaxing, she finally did it.
At first the sound was quite loud and incomprehensible, but she laughed and continued to beat the pans with reckless abandon. And then her beats got softer and she started to keep a cool rhythm. It was clear to me that she was starting to have fun. As the day wore on, I watched my friend transform from a hopeless little girl into a woman filled with a motivation to live. It seemed that with every beat she felt a weight lifted from her body. She wound up laughing and rockin’ away for the rest of her visit.
The next day she made it a point to tell me that she was grateful for how much our visit had inspired her. I asked her if she had figured out what her New Year’s resolution would be. With a familiar laugh, she informed me that she most certainly did. She decided on rearranging her own pots and pans to bang out her own special song every day. It was at that moment that I was filled with an indescribable happiness and peace for my friend. And it was then that I decided that for my New Years’ resolution, I would make it a point to try to touch someone’s life every day for many years to come.
Here’s to a rockin’ New Year!