Last night while I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about friendship. My very best friend is moving. I'm going to miss her terribly. She is moving two states away and I'm happy for her because she is going back to the place she loves and has lived in before. Just the same, I'm feeling very disconsolate. Which is why friendship was on my mind last night.
In our lives here on earth, we have a tremendous blessing. We have friends. Do you know the saying, "You can't choose your relatives but you can choose your friends"? We can choose wonderful, delightful, unimaginable friends.
My thoughts were lead to the many glorious friends I have had. Which then lead to friends who have had an immeasurable affect on my life. To the things that were said or done when I needed them most.
My friend, Marian, who is moving, is a good place to start. She is a friend to many people. She makes more baby and child quilts than anyone I know. When a couple she knows lost their home to a fire, Marian organized a group of women in the church to make a quilt for their new home. She made the quilt herself, then asked these women to help tying it. Not many did. None stayed to make sure it got finished, but Marian stayed the course. This lovely offering of friendship was the way she showed how much she cared. She has been a boon in my life. Offering amazing amounts of help when I needed it. She gave sound advice. Asked the right questions. And, without exception, listened to my boundless narratives of what was going on in my life. I fervently hope that the phone line will keep that spark alive.
Then there was...
...Lana, a friend when I three young children, who listened to my worry about my house being kept
neat and clean. She then asked, "I didn't think people with three children were able to have clean houses."
...the woman who was an assistant in a summer school class I taught. We talked about tough times that inevitably show up in our lives. She shared with me a quote that gave her hope in turbulent times. "Adversity is a dragon with a gift in its mouth."
...when I was struggling to find an elementary school teaching job in a glutted market, there was a woman in an interview panel, who looking that I had a bachelors in teaching of visually impaired children, but without a credential in that state, children asked, "Why don't you get your credential to teach VI?" It changed my destiny. Two years later I had the my credential for teaching the visually impaired and 25 years later still am enjoying teaching these children.
...Hillary, a true-hearted friend, helped me through the final two years of my mother's long battle
with breast cancer. She started urging me to see a geneticist who would determine my chances of getting breast cancer. I was paralyzed and didn't want to go. You see, my mom's oncologist had told my mom that I had a 75% chance of getting breast cancer. After watching her 12 years of slow decline from her first surgery to the end, I was overwhelmed with the fear that I would repeat that heart-wrenching scenario. Hillary continued to kindly urge me to see that geneticist. In the end, I acquiesced. Hillary went with me to San Francisco for the appointments, over an hour drive away. Thank goodness she did. I found my chances of getting cancer were just a little above that of the general population. My life had been given back to me because of my loving friend.
...the night I found a truly lovely yellow flower on my doorstep, wrapped in a wet paper towel. Just a glance at it brightened my day. I was thrilled with this tiny flower that made a surprising and beautiful end of my day. It was my neighbor Victoria.
...the women who showed up to help me move. The moving van had already taken most things to the new house, but my husband, by no design, left quite a bit of things that I would have to bring in my tiny card. On that morning, five women showed up ready to use elbow grease to clean my house. I had planned to help them clean, but found myself running around trying to get the remainder of items together to
fit into my small car. I became more agitated as time went by. I took my daughter aside and tearfully told her how awful I felt about leaving the women to clean. A very little bit of time layer in came one more lady to help. She came bustling in her arms full of a bag of bagels and cream cheese and orange juice. "I brought some bagels for breakfast," she announced. She then proceeded to take the cleaning task under her organizational hand. With her kind supervision, she took over and organized the tasks and made sure the house got clean without me having to split the time between packing and keeping the cleaning going. She lifted my burden, brightened and restored my day. I was, and am exceedingly grateful. In my book, she's an angel.
...the last one I will tell about. It was the first Christmas I would go through without my mom. My husband was away for business. I was achingly lonely and forlorn. A ring of the bell and on my doorstep stood five women from my church. They had stopped by to give me back some items I had donated to a party. They asked me what Christmas carol was my favorite. I chose Silent Night. Then they sang Silent Night for me. A cold winter night. Five women lovingly sing a sacred Christmas song on my doorstep to a teary-eyed young mom who was hurting terribly for her mother. They lifted my burden and lightened my tender heart. They changed my life from then on. I lay in bed thinking long after they left. I pondered for at least an hour before sleep overcame me. I saw the direction my life was taking and realized there were some parts that had to be changed. I had lost my faith through the dismal decline and death of my mother. By their love, I realized that it came from women who were demonstrating God's love for every individual. That night they had answered a prompting to come and visit me. In turn I realized that I needed to go join in the fellowship of my church and get my spiritual life on track. It transformed my life. Five charitable women, who loved me, singing on my doorstep.
It is my hope that each of you have enjoyed many friendships as I have. Who is it you are thinking of right now? Share with me, in the comments, the sweet friendship that enriched your life.