I am reminded of a Friends episode where Phoebe tries to convince Joey that there is no such thing as a selfless good deed.

In truth, there isn’t. Because when you do good for someone else, solely for the purpose of helping others, you end up feeling so good. It elevates your mood, your purpose and your soul, always.

Today I sat with a friend who has become a sister to me, while the chemo cocktail dripped cold into her veins, and we laughed, and huddled close, touching one another on the arm, smiling, loving, feeling so…lucky.

The text she sent last night I didn’t see until this morning: if you have time to come chat with me, I’ll be at the cancer center until 2. Never mind work. Never mind anything. I’d been waiting for an opening to help her without seeming pushy or making her feel like a patient. Here it was. I accepted the gift like a long-stemmed, delicate flower that only blooms in the rain.

Puddles splashed under my sandals. I ducked under an umbrella. I generally feel like my work has purpose and meaning, knowing that I am helping people realize their dreams. Every project I work on is a gift that I unwrap eagerly, saving the pretty paper and ribbon.

That’s how I look at everything, an opportunity. To parent – that I get the gift of these precious souls to treasure and guide and hold close in the dark and stormy nights. To love – that I am trusted with the gift of another person, of so many other people, their highs and lows, their laughter and their tears. To work – that I walk upright and think straight and use both hands and both feet. 

Everything, every moment – that I get safely to my destination, that I have a destination to go to.

Sometimes people come into your lives and leave again. Others arrive unknowingly and, in a blizzard where the snow piles high at the curb, you recognize the bright pink of a new friend’s hat through the snow, and invite her in for coffee.

There are beginnings every day, so many of them. If you allow yourself to see the beginning in everything, that is. Even the beginning in the ending.

And so today, the plans and schedules gave way to open space, and I could have sat there for hours. How selfish of me to have so much joy in the presence of another person, especially one going through such a life-changing trial!

How selfish to skip out of there feeling lucky as the earth that I call this woman my very dear friend!

But that is the way the earth rotates on its axis. It goes around a full rotation every 24 hours. A day begins and a day ends and then it begins again. People enter our lives for a reason and yes, they are gifts, truly.

I drove away counting my blessings: that I have the gift of sitting alongside someone in her highest and lowest moments, that she thinks of me when she needs a boost, that I think of her the same way, that I can make soup and roast vegetables and whip quiche and bake muffins that she will savor on her journey. That she lets me. That in knowing people, our lives have purpose. That in caring for others, we elevate our existence beyond the mundane.

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