Tonight we held a reception for Sonya at a friend’s house across the street. It wasn’t a coronation, graduation, or inauguration . . . just a “come by if you want to say hi” sort of deal. Some friends came from the neighborhood, school, church, and other places, too.
There were long time friends, new friends and occasional friends – you know, the friends you bump into now and then and just pick up just where you left off before.
There were old friends (won’t say which ones), young friends, and winsomely middle-aged friends.
There are friends who never knew about the reception, friends too far away to make it, and friends who just couldn’t come.
I’ve thought a lot about friends as we’ve gone through this transplant adventure. It’s become increasingly clear to me that each friend is a gift.
You cannot purchase a friend. You can’t pay them to care. That’s a ridiculous thought.
You cannot concoct a friendship. Oh, you can guilt someone into doing something friend-like. Or you can do something for someone to get them to “owe” you so they’ll pay you back, so you will feel like you are their friend. Or dangle your power, prestige, or perks to get someone to do something friend-like.
But if we do that, and we’re honest, in the end we will realize that what we’ve secured is not a friend.
We cannot manufacture a friend. Or rent a friend. Or borrow a friend.
No. When someone offers us himself (or herself) as a friend, it is a gift. It has to be that way.
If I’m honest it’s a little disconcerting to think of my friends as gifts. After all, I’d like to be able to control something so important to me. But I can’t. But this exactly what makes each of these friendships so special. They are a gift.
So tonight I am full of gratitude at all of the friends who have been on this journey with us. Each one is a gift.
[check out sonya’s recent post “on empathy“]