True Friendship

I once lost a good friend in high school.

For all intensive purposes, we will call her Jenna. Jenna was a close friend of mine throughout our years in high school. We did all kinds of activities together and were really close. During our senior year I saw Jenna's weight steadily drop to a level that was unhealthy. I knew she wasn't treating her body right and that she was perhaps in some serious danger, and my other friends took notice as well.

So I did what I was taught to do; along with a friend, I brought my concerns to an adult faculty member at our school.

We spoke with this adult faculty member a number of times, letting her know about behaviors Jenna was showing that showed she needed help. The teacher then met with Jenna and Jenna's parents and she got the help she needed. Jenna stopped hanging out with our group of friends and made different friends. We were obviously confused...we had her best interest in mind and really cared about her, why would she just leave us as friends?

It was a short while later that we got an angry note from Jenna. She had written to my friends and I that it was none of our business what she did with her body, that she hadn't wanted any help but was forced to get it because of what we had done. She was livid that we had brought attention to her struggle and made it clear that we could no longer be friends because of it.

As sad as I was about losing her as a friend, the good far outweighed the bad. I knew we had done the right thing in bringing this to the attention of adults - she really needed help and if I had to lose her as a friend for her to get it that was okay with me. She was able to get back to health, and as her friend that was my first priority.

I hear from so many teens who know a friend with a great struggle who are afraid to tell adults. They are afraid for many reasons - the reason that trumps all is always the fear of losing the friend. I know the fear and the fear manifested itself in my life when I lost Jenna - but a true friend puts the well-being of their friend above all else. I strongly encourage you, that if you are in such a situation, get help for your friend. Many teens struggle because they hold onto the secrets of their friends as they are ordered not to tell anyone at all. Tell someone - the burden of a friend's secret can affect your life deeply in ways you may not see. You do not need to live with burdens like this. Step up and free yourself, and do what you know is right. Talk to an adult, teacher, or parent who can get your friend the help they need. I promise that in the end all and be all, you will not regret your decision.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson is a young, energetic, Catholic musician and speaker who travels the world sharing her faith through witness and worship. Emily began singing at the age of 7 when she was encouraged by her third grade teacher to sing in front of the whole church. Years later, while attending Arizona State, Emily began leading worship with Ike Ndolo. After hearing her voice and seeing her passion to lead others, Ike invited her to tour with his band across the country at various conferences and events. Emily has spoken at parishes, schools, Life Teen Leadership events, the European Life Teen conference and, most recently, the South Africa Life Teen conference. Emily currently lives in Los Angeles and loves the Pacific Ocean, Chipotle, and Europe. To learn more about Emily, please visit emwilsonmusic.com.