Sometimes you experience life situations that you feel are so important you should share. This is one of those events. I have a friend, a beautiful friend. She is giving, kind, hardworking and knowledgeable in her field. Over the years, she has taken me under her wing. To be totally honest with you, at times, she scares me, but in the best way. Directness in a person is a trait I admire and appreciate, and she is often quite direct. I know when she addresses me in this way, there’s something important that she needs to tell me or I need to do. So I listen. Truly listen. Although she is going through several personal battles, I’ve never once heard her complain. And it’s not her style to announce such things anyway. I’ve known of a major battle for some time, but recently I learned of a new one.
We’re always busy; time never seems to be on our side. We arranged to have a drink and a bite to eat, a gift for both of us. Talking about work, something I love to do, was interrupted by an announcement that I was unprepared to hear. It is not my place to discuss, and this isn’t what this post is about anyway. Shocked and momentarily speechless, I covered my mouth and blinked away tears that had involuntarily filled my eyes. Not daring to look her in the eye, for fear of losing it altogether. I did the only thing I could do at that moment; I stared straight ahead. I’m notorious for saying and doing the wrong in such situations. I can’t help it, and don’t even know why. Terrified I’d say something wrong I bit the inside of my cheek. My heart sank. Impossible to imagine what she must have been going through the past few weeks. I listened and she acted and talked as she normally would. We talked at length about many things; plans she’d made, family, friends, and the up-coming holiday season which was right around the corner. I could not help but wonder how on earth she would manage at such a time. How would she tell those she loved most? She hadn’t told but a few of those around her; I felt privileged she’d confided in me.
Daring myself to speak, still terrified I’d say the wrong thing, I asked about her children and if they knew. She described in depth what she was preparing to tell them, and she used an analogy that included vast amounts in comparison to tiny peas. I took a sip of my drink as she spoke, but I soon needed another as I watched her describe mounds compared to peas. She’s like me, and used her hands as she spoke. She said something that day, at the table, I swear I will never forget (I have many words of advice in my head from her, my mentor and dear friend, that I’ll never forget). However, her words were both amazing and haunting. In fact, as soon as the words left her mouth my eyes once again filled with tears. “Come again?” I asked, making sure I’d heard her correctly. She repeated them, yep. I heard her. “Today,” she said, “I am grateful for the peas.”
I knew what she meant, but I was stunned. It was such an amazing analogy that she’d so carefully described, completed with the ultimate statement. Everything that could go wrong, had. Yet she still was happy for the tiniest bit of good news. Losing a loved one to such a terrible thing, the analogy made such perfect sense. “For the peas,” I repeated. “The peas!” She took a drink. Smiled and said,“Yes. The peas!” With a bite of food in her mouth, drink in hand, she continued. “Today the peas are a good thing because the peas are small. A mound of mass is a terrible thing.”
I remember thinking if only I were surprised she’d said that. But knowing her the way I do, her analogy, and the way she conducts herself all of the time I knew she was truly grateful to be alive. I don’t believe I will ever take any time with her for granted ever again. When one can be thankful for the peas, how dare I not celebrate life knowing such a beautiful person with family and friends is grateful for of all things, today the smallest victories. This person is a gift to so many people, if only more were as gracious and willing to assist others as she does, what a different place this world would be.
“Today, I am grateful for the peas,” she said. Such an example for all of us. #grateful #littlethings #humble #life #friends #mentor
Copyright © 2016 by Amanda M. Thrasher