I just made dinner plans with a dear friend who is in the midst of a recent cancer diagnosis. Her phone message of a few minutes ago confirming dinner ended with the words “I’m doing fine — I’m just depressed — I’m blue,” followed by a chuckle that I’ve heard again and again during our more than fifteen-year friendship. This girl, whose good humor has made me laugh as she’s cried over a beer telling whatever story of recent heartbreak she was facing – boys, work, whatever – is good humored even now. That’s one of the many reasons I love her.
Humor is not my fall back position. I worry rather than laugh. I cry at home alone rather than share my heartbreak over a drink with a friend. I wallow in the “why” rather than accept what is and waste no time figuring out a plan. It’s my job (as a lawyer) to anticipate and plan for the worst case scenario. I’m damn good at my job; my paranoia serves me well. But I don’t always face adversity well. I never have. In my sophomore year of high school, my tennis coach printed t-shirts with the word “adversity” on them to motivate us to face a season with some of the best players gone. I hated those shirts. Why did I have to play the game with “misfortune” on my chest?
Sometimes life places misfortune on our chests. Some of us handle misfortune better than others. I have no doubt that my friend will handle her diagnosis and treatment with grace and good humor. That’s how she’s wired. I can see the day that she’s home after a round of chemo and I’m sitting by her side crying from laughing so hard listening to her describe her latest anything. I would bet my cats that we will laugh irreverently at so much over the next six months. We will cry too, but tears are never the end of the story with this girl. Tears are just the beginning of a sweet time with my friend that will leave me, once again, in awe of her ability to laugh through anything.