The most treasured moments have no photographs in our phones or scrapbooks. They flow in our blood. They are the moments when pain engulfed every space of our bodies and souls. At the time, we thought they were the worst times we’d ever know. We wanted them to pass. We hoped to forget them. We vowed to bury them away with no map leading back.
But as years pass, we open our treasure maps and there they are. Not the places of joy. We can laugh with anyone. The tears we save for those who hold us dear. And even deeper in our treasure chest are the times so stricken with sorrow we lost the ability to even cry – and a friend was there. That blessed friend.
The friend, in that moment, is the brightest and most valued gem we will ever in our lives hold.
This is an old poem of mine about those times (I’ve had many). In this there are two people. One who feels there is nothing good left and the other feeling they don’t have enough to give. When in reality, the one has a friend left and that is everything. The other has himself or herself to give. In a world that constantly tells us we are never enough, in that moment, that friend who has only the self to give, is not just enough, but is everything.
When He Comes Home
Take the cup to your lip.
It’s not holy water, I know,
not even wine. But take a sip.
Slowly. Something to burn the tongue.
Lift your head, push your back into
the wall, wrap the blanket tighter
around, let your hands out.
Hold the cup. It’s hot. Your fingers
can feel again. Don’t worry about
where you’ve been. Just lift the cup
up to your lips. In a little bit,
if you’re doing better, I’ll help
you light a cigarette. I’m sorry,
but this is the best I have to give.