I am thankful for friends who bring me laughter, who believe in me, who support me, who forgive my foibles. I am thankful for those who listen to my whining and those who trust me enough to turn around and whine to me. I am thankful for those who know when all I need is a sounding board and when it's time to give advice and when it's time to smack me upside the head with a whiffle bat (figuratively speaking only, thankfully.) I am thankful my friends know when I need chocolate and when I need a smile or a corny joke or when to share a favorite passage of scripture or thoughts on a book they are currently reading.
I am thankful for the friend who sent me a scary picture of herself (a picture she herself believes if the worst picture she's ever taken) with the instruction that whenever I start to go down a certain destructive path (which path she non-judgmentally listened to me express my desire to remove myself from), that I look at that picture and remember that's the face I'd have to contend with if I found myself on that path again. (I need to clarify here that it is a really really bad picture, and my friend is ever so much more comely than that particular picture shows.)
I am thankful for the friend who over 20 years ago called from a number my caller ID didn't register, and played the piano for a good five minutes, nothing else, just the piano, no introduction nor explanation. I wonder if she ever knew how much that meant to me. I say "she" as an educated guess; I never knew for sure if I was right in that guess and she was quite convincing in her claim that it wasn't her, although I always suspected it was, and she has since passed on so I won't know for sure until I get to the other side and she won't be allowed to fib to me (if indeed it really was her in the first place.) Perhaps it was someone I don't know who misdialed and the gift was meant for someone else. I think it was still done out of friendship, and I am grateful that the intended recipient has a friend such as that. The music came at a low point in my life and was a healing balm.
I am thankful for the friend who at another difficult time, when I was feeling discouraged from a long bout with unemployment, who collected a bunch of Happy Meal type toys, tied them all together with a long piece of twine with one end tied to my door handle and at the other end of the rope he tied a note explaining their daring escape and request for sanctuary among my other toys. It didn't pay any bills, but the laugh and encouragement it gave me helped buoy my spirits at the end of a very long week.
I am thankful for the friend who came when I called yesterday after I had a fairly new tire decide to shred itself on me and I could get either of my two jacks to work, but he came and showed me how I was misusing both jacks (and refrained from teasing me too much about not knowing how my own tools work) and added his strength to mine over some very stubborn lug nuts. And I'm thankful for the patience of a friend who I was on my way to pick up and give a ride to when the tire decided to fall apart.
As a matter of fact, I am thankful for many friends over the years who came and helped me with flat tires, broken water pumps, overheated engines, and the like, at times that were seldom convenient to them. And I'm thankful for those who trusted me enough to call me when their cars chose inopportune times to get cranky.
I am thankful for my many friends who have many times rescued me both temporally and spiritually, which stories would fill volumes.
I am grateful that my friends understand me better then I often do myself, who somehow manage to manipulate me into admitting.... um I mean, wisely guide our conversation to a path where I am calm enough to come up with my own solution. I am grateful for friends who will allow me to express my frustration with myself and my weaknesses but who refuse to allow me to wallow in self pity for longer than 13.47 seconds. Who know all the things I do right and all my good traits and who aren't afraid to use those things against me. I mean, who are eager to remind me of my better self.
I am thankful for the wisdom and compassion and trust of my friends. And I am thankful for the God who brought them into my life.