The Friend

I've always wanted to be the hero. Doesn't everyone feel that way at some point? We all want to be the one who saves the day, the one who can do it all.

But some of the most-loved stories aren't just about the hero or heroine. Where would Frodo be without Sam. Harry without Ron and Hermione (and Luna and Neville...). Sherlock without Watson. Rand without Mat and Perrin. Rory without Lane. Lorelai without Sookie. Buffy without Willow and Xander? (we know that at any rate: self-destructing in a major way). And Star Wars isn't just about Luke or Darth Vader.

Sometimes, we're the one carrying the ring. Going through the fire that nearly destroys us. Sometimes we're the one with the power, responsibility, and the burden that comes with it. Sometimes we're the one that life knocks down a few times. But sometimes, we're the person standing right there making sure that our friend comes through the fire. Picking them up when they can't go on. Reminding them that despite everyone and everything that seemingly has it in for them, they are loved. Providing magical backup, an extra gun hand, a getaway ship, a silent hug and listening ear, or a loving kick in the pants. (and sometimes even a well-timed moment of comic relief). The friend fills in the gaps, because even heroes can't do it all alone.

I've had conversations with teenagers when they begin to realize that a lot of their friends or peers experience some pretty awful stuff. People whose lives are not marked by trauma can start to feel guilty. But I remind them that someone has to stand along side those who are hurting and broken. Someone has to be the friend. It may not be glamorous, but it's so necessary.

Sometimes, we're the protagonist. Sometimes, we're the friend. And it all makes a good story.