There is a big however, however. (giggle) I am surrounded by an incredible, amazing, brilliant aura of love and support that is indefatigable. This network includes childhood friends from growing up in the Bronx. My beloved cousin Steve, a stable, affectionate presence since I was born. Classmates ranging from grade school to grad school. Friends from my days as a young mother and La Leche League leader. Friends from a lifetime of jobs, notably B. Dalton Books, The Asbury Park Press, teaching childbirth classes at Jersey Shore Medical Center, Healthnet. Friendships that grew through our children’s friendships. Friends from church. Friends who used to be neighbors. Friends I met through other friends. Fellow writers. These are true friends, not acquaintances. These are people who have cried with me and for me, joined in prayer with me, laughed with me, shared their love and lives and individual gifts with me. Most importantly, these are people who have never let me forget I am loved. They bring light and joy to me as effortlessly as you would take a breath. And when I express amazement and gratitude at their friendship, they express amazement that I am surprised. It is a funny, continuous circle of “You love me?!?! But why?!? You are the one who is wonderful. No, you are the one who is wonderful! No, you are the one who is wonderful!” And on and on.
Make no mistake, I have many, many low moments. I am no Pollyanna. Constant pain is overwhelming and can obliterate all sensible thought. Fear of the unknown, of the future, or of the lack of a future, sneaks up on me, leaving me breathless and sick to my stomach. Thinking of the losses I’ve experienced can make me bitter and full of self pity. Animosity from people I love has been astonishing and heartbreaking. There are many desperately down times and I have to struggle awfully hard to rise up. Some days I barely make it. But awareness of the incredible affection and sincerity of the dear ones around me holds me up, keeping me from sinking completely. I know it sounds corny, and the phrase has been in more than a few song lyrics, but they give me the strength to keep going when there is so much threatening to drag me down.
It is the dedication of all these remarkable people that gives me the capacity to say I have SO much to be thankful for. Because I truly do. I hope all of you reading this have as much to be grateful for as I do.
|1 Corinthians 13:8|
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