I am blessed with the most wonderful friends in the world. They are so helpful, so kind. All I have to do is say, “Would you mind…” and they reach out with gestures of generosity.
Two of my very best friends announced they were going to spend a week at a resort in Costa Rica. It was an up-scale place, but they got good rates and couldn’t wait to enjoy the opportunity to avoid the snow and ice and cold. Later, I thought to myself: Why should my friends go away to a sunny resort and leave me here to suffer? So I called them and I said, “Would you mind if I came with you?”
There was a long pause as they savoured the significance of having me with them for a whole week. Then one said, “Why sure, if you can arrange it.”
I called the lead volunteer at the hospital where I help out three afternoons a week and said, “Would you mind if I took a week off to go to an up-scale Costa Rican resort with my friends. They’ve invited me to join them and I don’t want to disappoint them.”
She said, “Why sure! Are you sure you only need one week? If it should turn into two, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.” She’s so kind!
To keep things falling into place, I called another friend to advise her of my winter vacation in sunny Costa Rica. After telling her all about it and giving her the web address so she could check it out on-line, I said, “Would you mind stopping by my house a couple of times a day while I’m away to check the mail, feed the cats and walk the dog?”
She started to answer, but I continued, “I was thinking to myself, who but you would be willing to do such a thing for me? And I could think of no one else.”
I thought perhaps the call had dropped, but eventually, she said, “Yes, I’ll do it for you this time.”
With all of these arrangements being made, I was getting excited. I bumped into a friend at the mall and told her about the impending trip on which I’d been invited by my dear friends, how the head volunteer had given me two weeks off though I only needed one, and how another friend had generously volunteered to pick up my mail, feed my cats, and walk my dog.”
When I finished telling her all this, including the web address so she, too, could see the resort I’d be staying at, she mentioned that she was going to Germany for a week and regretted that it happened to be the same week that I was going to be away. She is so thoughtful. And I’m a thoughtful person, too.
As soon as she said “Germany,” I immediately remembered a young man, a friend of my neighbour’s son, who had been on an exchange program from Munich. Deitrich was such a fine young man that, after we chatted over the back fence for a while, I invited him to come over and look at my garden. Well, we struck up a bit of a friendship while he was here. He was a lovely boy so I asked my friend, “Since you’re going to Germany, would you mind taking a parcel from me to dear Dietrich?”
She said she wasn’t going to Munich, but I assured her that I had his address and it would be quite easy for her to find him. Germany isn’t that big a country, I thought. Surely she wouldn’t mind going a little out of her way for a friend.
She made a face suggesting to me that she was overwhelmed with the opportunity I’d given her to help me. I said, “Thank you, so much. This means more to me than I can say. You truly are a good friend.”
Then a few days later, as I was flipping through my date book, I realized that I was scheduled to sing for the Red Hat Ladies the very day that I would be travelling to Costa Rica. This would never do. I couldn’t abandon my responsibility to entertain the girls, so I called yet another friend and said, “It seems that I will have to be away when I’m supposed to singing for our Red Hat friends. Would you mind switching with me.”
She paused, realizing, as I had, that I would be giving up the chance to sing on St. Valentine’s day, if I switched with her. I’m sure she was overwhelmed to think that I would offer her the privilege of singing on the day of love, while I took an ordinary day. After she had thought suitably and humbly about it. She kindly agreed. I thought I heard a little touch of pride in her voice, but I wouldn’t judge her for this because she’s a good friend and one ought always to think well of one’s friends.
Everything was going so well, I should have known that something would break the charm. Five days before I was to leave with my friends on my vacation of a lifetime I slipped on the ice and broke my ankle. I was hospitalized for a couple of days because I needed surgery on it. They were such nice people at the hospital. I could hardly believe how merrily they waved good-by to me as my favourite orderly pushed me down the hall to the elevators.
I had to inform all my friends of my catastrophe so I sent out emails, posted on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, and did everything I could to let my friends know of the disgrace that had befallen me. What an out pouring of love I experienced! So many of my cherished friends wrote back concerned about my pain and begging me to be sure to spend as much time at home as I needed to.
They valued my health so much that they insisted that I follow my doctor’s orders and take at least six weeks without putting any weight on the ankle and then another eight weeks after that for physiotherapy. Only then should I gently ease myself back into my routine, knowing it would take a year for me to be back to full strength.
“Please, dear, don’t push it.” They said. “Make sure you give that ankle time to heal because, if you don’t, you could reinjure it and make things worse. Take as much time as you need. Just stay at home, enjoy the flowers, the chocolates, the fruit baskets, and other expressions of our highest esteem.”
One even said, “Don’t you dare stick your nose out your door until summer comes, and it’ll be time for you to go to your cottage up north.” Then she added, “Would you like me to drive you there?”
My friends! So kind. So helpful. So generous. I’ll never forget them—which reminds me, I have ask my very best friend in the world if she would mind coming over to clean my house while I’m laid up.