Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finding the Right Words ...

to express my thanks can sometimes be more difficult than I expect.

I recently wrote to my friend M, who was there for me during my divorce from my first husband. I didn't open up completely to very many people back then -- maybe it was a lack of trust, maybe it was my shame -- but M knew everything. M listened as I dissected every detail of my decision, weighed every last bit of evidence, second-guessed every assumption.

And M always knew what I needed -- a hand to hold,  a voice of reason, a joke, a pep talk or a cheeseburger or a margarita.

So when I went to write to M, I thought it would be a snap. The words would just flow.

Or not. I sat for a long time. I struggled to find the perfect words, the phrases that would articulately and fully convey the gratitude I felt for everything M had done. I didn't want to waste this opportunity.

What do I say to someone who was there for me, didn't judge me, at one of the most, if not the most, devastating and profound times of my life? Besides thank you, of course ... Thank you for giving me a place to verbalize some of the most heretical thoughts and feelings I've ever had. You have no idea, M, how much it meant to be able to talk to someone without fear of criticism or betrayal -- I would have gone absolutely crazy without you. You saved my life, sister.

She did save my life. And, as I remarked to her, it was just happenstance that she and I ever became friends in the first place -- during a company restructuring I was transferred to M's department, and she and I struck up a conversation one day. The next thing I knew, the girl in the next cubicle over was a cherished friend looking out for me when I wasn't so capable of looking out for myself.

It's almost as if the universe saw me heading off into the woods, and knew I was going to need a compass to keep from getting completely lost. You were my compass -- totally not at all anticipated and totally clutch -- how do I repay you? I will tell you I really do try not to take anything for granted these days; you just never how the universe is actually working things out for you.


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