05 January 2006

A Rare Kind of Friend

I set out to write a book once. It was the craziest thing. I had a job at the time, something freelancy (kind of like now) and I used to go to coffee shops to work because I needed to be around people for inspiration. I would hop from the coffee shop on 21st Avenue to the coffee shop on 12th to the coffee shop in Hillsboro Village named after a dog. One day, I found myself at the coffee shop on Broadway, sitting in an overstuffed chair with my favorite summer coffee drink -- an iced grande two-percent cinnamon latte (two percent indicating the kind of milk, not the amount of cinnamon.)

Suddenly out of nowhere, I felt the compulsion to write a book. A memoir I think. I just started writing like a madwoman. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote until my last sip of coffee had been slurped and my computer was blinking out of power. Then I went home and wrote some more.

I guess you could say that my book was like a far less humorous Seinfeld episode: a book about nothing in particular. It was fifty pages of random events in my life pieced together in hopes of making an interesting story.

The first sentence of my book was not great at all, but I will share it with you anyway. Here it is.

“I’ve always dreamed of having a rare friendship, the kind of friend who sits and sips red wine with you, quietly, in the moments when nothing needs to be said, holding back advice just for the sake of letting you feel their presence.”

That’s it. See? Not the best.

None of the friends around me have lost a parent, so no one really knows what to say to me I guess. It’s not that I think people don’t care…it’s just that I think people don’t relate, so it’s hard for them to know what you need at a time like this, which is just to know that people care.

Anyway, I read those first lines from my book a little while ago, words I wrote at least four years ago and have read few times since because my old writing causes me to shudder. I am not sure what I was thinking about at the time that I wrote it--from what I recall the rest of my book wasn’t anything about friendship. Tonight when I read it though, I instantly thought of my husband.

Earlier this evening, I was making dinner. Spaghetti with my grandfather’s sauce. And as I drained the pasta I noticed two wine glasses sitting on the counter that Jeremy had washed this morning and set out for tonight. I was thinking about just how amazing he has been through all of this, how endlessly patient he is when I don’t want to leave the house to see people because I am too sad and don’t feel like faking it. Or how comforting he is when I wake up in a panic in the middle of the night, again, for no reason I can put my finger on. Every single time, he pulls me close to him, tells me that he’s right there, and that everything’s okay.

We are figuring it out together. I am figuring out how to move along in life again, and he is figuring out how to keep being there, a stable presence, sometimes with a word to push me just a little, sometimes letting me be where I am, and other times sitting with me quietly in the moments when nothing needs to be said at all.


Anonymous said...


Hello! I was comforted by your comments that you didn't want to pretend to be OK for others. Prentending is what makes others comfortable, but people who pretend really only have pretend relationships. I don't see you as a pretender.

Life is messy. Boxing it up into something manageable is pretense at it's highest form. Romans 3:16 tells us that we are a mess, none of us is who we appear to be. We all have secrets, we all have issues. We all struggle from time to time. No one is perfect. Not one.

Grief is a companion that is not always welcome, but somehow very persistent. It shows our "unfinishedness" well. From Mike Yaconelli's book "Messy Spirtuality"..."Jesus understood unfinishedness very well, which is why he was comfortable leaving eleven unfinished disciples. When he died, the disciples were confused, depressed, afraid, doubtful. They faced a lifetime of finishing, just like you and me."

Praise be to the author and "finisher" of our very unfinished faith...

Christine said...


I love this post. It's just beautiful. Your husband is perfect for you ~ I love that.

I know I can't completely identify with what you're going through, but know that I wish I could be there more often, just to share a quiet moment and some coffee with you at that coffeehouse named after a dog :)

Much love,

Anonymous said...

simple yet powerful. thank you for sharing such a deep insight into your life. i wanted to just say it has helped me. not in the grandioso change your life in a big way...but in that small quiet you notice the flowers kind of way. thank you for that and i hope to read more things like this. because simply put i can relate. i understand what its like for no one around you to get it. i know what its like to struggle and hurt. to know that its not that people don't care...its that they can't relate. powerful. thank you for helping me take one step closer to jesus :)