The power of friendship

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By Diana Bejarano

dv1472021I often write about the Latina Still Standing motto of relying on faith, family and friends to help us overcome life’s obstacles.

The dictionary defines “friend” as a person with whom you share a bond of mutual affection. To me, it’s also someone you can celebrate with, cry with, confide in and count on when times get tough. I have always found relationships and friendships to be a very important ingredient to my success. Studies show that an active social life with good friends is essential to happiness and healthy living.

Our circle of friends/amigas, often including our tias, comadres and hermanas, is very strong in Hispanic culture and extremely vital to our happiness and success. We rely on our friends to help with major life decisions; we provide and obtain advice from each other on a regular basis. But, as in any genuine relationship, trials sometimes surface; but a true friendship can stand the test of time through loyalty, love and forgiveness.

I am grateful to have had several friends in my life for decades and, even though we don’t see each other daily, our friendship remains intact. When you are in someone’s life that long, you are bound to experience the highs and the lows of each other’s lives. You build a friendship through life’s celebrations, such as graduations, weddings and births, and also the painful times, such as break-ups, divorces, sickness and loss. A long-term friendship is almost like a marriage – until death do you part.

Of all the people I am blessed to call my friends, there are four that I have been close to since childhood. I have watched each of them grow into beautiful Latina women – marry, have children, even grandchildren. We have counseled each other, laughed and cried with each other, and even argued with each other from time to time. It’s amazing how our closeness has stood the test of time. When someone knows the depths of your soul and still accepts you with all of your flaws, then you have found yourself a “true” friend. I am blessed to have found a few “true” friends.

Recently my closest friend since childhood went to have a check-up for a minor medical issue and found out she was facing something more serious. The agony of learning that someone you love and talk to every day may have a life-threatening illness was extremely hard. Thankfully, she is one of the toughest Latinas I know and she held her head high and said to me, “I’m going to beat this and I’m going to be OK; you will see.” And she was right! By the grace of God, she is doing excellently.

Friendship is a tremendous asset and should never be taken for granted. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” It’s an honor to be a friend and cherish each moment I spend with my amigas.

¡Viva la Amistad!

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