Mandy Newham-Cobb illustration
Soothing the soul
I have two best friends and both of them are healers.
I met the first in fifth-grade homeroom years ago. There was this quality that I couldn’t understand at the time which drew me to her. Now I know that it was her definite sense of self and her drive to get the most out of every minute. She had big glasses just like mine and a kind heart. We were attached at the hip most of the way through middle school and high school.
Somewhere around junior year we drifted away from each other. In retrospect, we needed time apart to do some growing up. She and I stayed in touch throughout college and after, getting to know each other all over again. When I decided to move 600 miles away, she was my biggest supporter. In the months after the big move when I was feeling homesick, she shared my sadness but also reminded of me of my valid reasons for leaving.
Best friend number two and I met while working in the advertising department of a big city newspaper. The first time I saw her, I wrote her off as too beautiful to be nice. I assumed that she would be the kind who would look down on me for being a shy nerd. I was dead wrong. I grew up in New York and she right here in the Smoky Mountains, but our raising was similar. We both come from simple, good people who would give you their last dime if your need were greater. One afternoon we were having one of those office kind of conversations about nothing important, just trying to make the time go by. It struck me that our mannerisms and thought patterns are a lot alike. Through hours of conversation we began to genuinely appreciate and trust each other.
I will forever be grateful to have met each of them. They have helped me to heal emotional wounds in ways that I did not believe possible.
If you had asked me five years ago if I would end up divorced and a survivor of domestic violence, I would have said absolutely not. I still struggle with the after-effects of abuse, and probably always will, but I have come far. My healing is due in part to the unconditional support and love from my two best friends. They reminded me time and time again that my value as a person is non-negotiable. They were patient with me as I sorted through my emotional luggage in order to get back to the person that I used to be. I called on them many times for the reassurance that I was making good, intelligent choices. Over time, I started to see myself from their point of view instead of the dysfunctional one that I had adopted. As I write this today I am a happy and healthy woman with a wide open future. I can’t say that this would be true if I hadn’t come across these two wonderful women.
Healing isn’t always a product of medical care. Sometimes it comes in the form of a listening ear and the right words at the right moment. There are certain people in this world who are able to make you see yourself through a clearer lens, who help you to move forward and away from old hurts. Healers don’t only exist in the form of medical professionals. Sometimes the most healing presences in our lives come from non-medical people with wisdom and love to share.