I’m not sure which lesson is hardest to learn, to be there for someone when they need you, or to let them be there for you when you need them.
My mother had two male friends. And they were good friends, to her and to each other. When one of them was near the end of his life, the other wanted so badly to be there, to help in the biggest, or smallest of ways. In any way. And not just wanted – needed. Really needed it. Needed to be by his side and show him that he mattered. Show him that their friendship mattered. To be let in this one last time. But the failing friend couldn’t do it. Couldn’t allow this last gift. He saw it as weakness – and not the final gift that he could give his friend.
I can’t claim to know either side of this exact experience, but what a lesson! For our daily lives. Some days we are the one who gets to stand strongly beside, and other days, we get to rely on that nearby strength. Both gifts. I want to be strong enough to stand. I want to be strong enough to let you in when I can’t.
And we do this together. Side by side. Each the better for it. No one keeping track of whose turn it is. Our shadows and hearts melding as one.
Emily Dickinson wrote, “It’s all I have to bring today — this and my heart beside –“
Beside. Today and every day. The perfect gift.