The Definition of Friend

This morning dawned cold and beautiful, the sun like diamonds on the white expanse. Yes, the driving was slick, and yes it was another day of bundling up, but I had the glory of seeing beauty in action before I even had breakfast.

My friend Mary knocked at the door at 8 a.m., the sun just barely peeking above the horizon. She said put me to work, and we began carting boxes of kitchen items to both of our cars, muscling over the snowdrift on my driveway.

No matter that the bottoms of her jeans were wet in five minutes. She never stopped smiling.

We drove to my new house and lifted the boxes out of our cars and into the house for unpacking later today. Then we returned to the current house, and I made corned beef hash for us and my kids and hot cups of coffee to eat at the kitchen table. She was kind to my children, listening intently and with full-on eye contact when they shared their stories.

I cleaned up the kitchen, and we filled more boxes of kitchen items forgotten in cupboards and then drove another time to the new house.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, I realized how truly beautiful the day was, and that if Mary hadn’t offered to come so early in the morning to help me, I would have stayed in my pajamas, inside my dirty boxed-up soon-to-leave house and feel the panic of moving and the self-sorrow for mountains of work yet to do.

She brought me out of myself and into the world and what a truly beautiful world it is. “If you hadn’t come, I would never have noticed how beautiful it is outside today,” I told her.

The smile, still radiant. The friendship, absolutely glowing.

Mary is not a lifelong friend; we met only last year. We’ve shared drinks and laughs and stories, and when she offered to help, I was floored. Surely she has better things to do than lug my heavy boxes! At the same time Mary was helping me, her fiancé was driving his friends to the airport in the pre-dawn so they didn’t have to leave a car in the cold parking lot for a week.

These are the kinds of friends to truly call friend. I’m not judging those who didn’t come – we all have busy lives and demands from so many directions. I am just celebrating the beauty of a friend like this, so generous and full of heart.

I feel lucky to have a friend like this. And for the few hours we spent together lugging and lifting and packing and sipping coffee, I know I’ll be a better person for it myself. Thanks, Mary. Thank you God for making people who give so fully and love so well. I am inspired to reach for your heights.

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