A Friend Like That

Have you ever had a friend who always managed to show up at the perfect time and always had just the right thing to say? They don’t necessarily show up when you want them, but somehow always show up when you need them. And though they don’t always say what you want to hear, at some point, you have to admit it’s what you needed to hear.

I have a friend like that.

I met her in 1999, just before my engagement imploded. When it ended and I fell into despair, it was her strong arms that caught me. Her calm drawling voice was the one that talked me back into life and into college and through countless personal dramas and tragedies. She held my hand during a painful biopsy and made her husband drive her across four counties to get to me at the emergency room after my wreck. She cried with me through wounded hearts and broken dreams and laughed with me when life was going well. She watched me march across the stage to get my degree and clapped like I was the most important person there—and to her, I was. She’s been my biggest cheerleader, my strongest supporter, and the voice of reason in the back of my head. She’s prayed me through the fiercest battles and pulled me out of the deepest pits. And never asked anything in return, except my respect.

If you had asked me five years ago, I would’ve sworn we would never grow apart. And really, I don’t think we have grown apart. Life is just different now. I bought a house and moved away. We no longer go to the same church and see each other every week. There was no fight or falling out. The phone calls just got less frequent until one day, I realized it had been over a year since I’d heard from her. I called and got no answer. The next time I thought about it, I realized it had been eighteen months since we’d talked.

This year, we found the phone again. Since my birthday in January, we’ve talked four times and each time it’s been like no time had ever passed between conversations. She’s still the wisest, strongest person I know.

This morning at 7, my phone rang. I had the day off and hadn’t set the alarm, but when I saw her name on the screen, my frustration dissolved.

Did I wake you? I’m sorry. I won’t keep you… My sister died… And I thought, “I need Sarah.”

I closed my eyes against the tears that burned there and listened to her talk. When she finished, I said the only thing I knew to say: I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do?

I could hear the smile in her voice as she responded: You just did. You just gave me exactly what I needed.

Right now, words fail me. I can’t explain it. The woman who has been such a rock for me and who has always given to me so freely called on me and leaned on me today. I’d say I’m honored and humbled and touched, but those words don’t fully convey what I feel. It’s more than that. Words just aren’t enough to express it. But then, sometimes, words aren’t necessary to connect hearts.

Have you ever had a friend like that?

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Wow, you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful woman in your life! And it sounds like she is just as blessed to have you in hers! I have a friend much like yours, we went through a lot together, and helped eachother out during tough times, and even though time and space got between us, we still talk like no time has passed at all. Good friends are treasures. Thank you for sharing this Sarah. :-)

  2. Whoa.

    I want to be that.
    For someone.
    Or maybe.
    I am and I
    just don’t know it.

    But I can always
    strive for it
    and be the person
    you and your
    writing inspire
    me to be.

    Sarah.

  3. It is wonderful to have strong friends and then to turn around and be strength back to them. That’s what God created us for. Beautifully written, Sarah. Thanks.

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