“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis
Today’s blog is dedicated to good friends, and one in particular. We all have friends—people we love and enjoy being with, but we should also have one or two best friends (spouses aside), who stand above the rest. Those are people we connect with on a deeper level, and for whom we’d go through fire if they needed us to. God has blessed me with two such friends.
The first is Lisa, who lives in Boston, my friend since we the 6th grade (nearly 40 years ago). I could write volumes about the trouble we got into (well, mostly me while she watched) when we were young and foolish (well, mostly me again). Lisa and I can, and often do, go months without hearing from each other, but when we get together, it’s as if we never parted. I don’t see Lisa often, but she knows if she were to call me tonight and ask me to come to Boston, I’d be packed and on the road within the hour.
The other is Michele, the reason for today’s musings. If Michele and I were fighting in a battle, we’d be the ones standing back-to-back, each watching out for the other the Jonathan and David battled in the Bible. I’ve only known her for about 12 years, but whenever I read about how David was “knit to Jonathan’s soul,” I get it, because that’s how I feel about Michele. And I know she feels the same way about me because she volunteered to (and actually DID) drive me to the airport last month during a Friday afternoon rush hour. Not Dulles; Ronald Reagan. In the city. Knowing that after dropping us off she’d have to merge with the homeward-bound masses on I-95. That’s a friend.
Michele is one of the kindest people I know. She has put others before herself all her life. As long as I’ve known her, she’s never stood in the spotlight. In fact, when she sees this, her first reaction will likely be “This is ridiculous. I’m not special.”
But she is. This is a woman who has endured more than the rest of us would consider a fair share of trials and heartwrenchingly wrong turns, and nobody who knows her entire story would have faulted her if she’d turned bitter. Yet she continues to laugh, to encourage others, and give every ounce of herself away.
Michele’s capacity to love is so great, she’s practically a professional worrier because she can’t bear the thought of those she cares about to be hurt. She thinks I’m the strong one because I tend not to be a worrier, but I want to take this opportunity to say, Michele, it’s your strength, your generosity, and your courage that inspires me most.
A little over five years ago, cancer and a series of other potentially debilitating medical issues came crashing into Michele’s life. Do you know what this single mom’s biggest worry was? That OTHER people’s lives might be impacted. Sure, she went through some serious woe-is-me times, and there were many tears, but except for those incredibly horrible down-for-the-count chemo days, she fought hard throughout those years to ensure her two teenagers’ daily routines went on as unimpeded as possible. Think about those years: weekend college visits, driving lessons, prom dresses, high school graduation, and angst and drama out the wazoo. She mommed with a vengeance and got them both off to college.
Now, thanks to her faith, her stubbornness, her many friends, and some rather outstanding medical practitioners, Michele is celebrating being more than five years out from cancer. She wanted to throw a party, but, as you might have guessed, other people and commitments came first.
So today we’re putting Michele first. Some of her friends and I hijacked her selflessness, and we’re throwing her party. We’ll practically have to tie her hands to a chair to do so, but we’re going to sit her down and make her laugh and eat carrot cake and be waited on until she knows, without a doubt, how special and how inspirational she is to all of us.
Now, if we’d invited ALL her friends and ALL the people she’s helped and ALL the people who love her, we’d have had to rent a stadium. But all we have is a private home, so we’re celebrating with those people she leaned on through the toughest years. However, if you know Michele, or if you don’t know her but can relate to what she’s been through, you can celebrate with us and really make her day all the more special if you leave a WOOT! Or a Way to Go! Or any other words of congratulations on this page for her to read during the party. Yes, I’ll make sure she reads it.
After all, she’ll need something to do while she’s tied to that chair.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10