“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.”
While I am known for my respect for old dead white guys, (yes, that was satire) Euripides is full of donkey crap.
Trouble is a given in life, while happiness takes me by surprise every time.
I crave witnesses for these miracles of joy. Oh, I’ve had more than my share of happiness occur when no one else was around to witness the event. Turtles hatching in the warm sand at my feet on a beach in Mexico. Inter-species communication with six foot green morays. A quiet few minutes scraping the barnacles from the shell of a loggerhead turtle resting on the reef at forty feet below the surface of the Caribbean. A macaque sitting in the dappled light of a forest in Nepal who, when I waggled my fingers in hello, lifted a paw and waved back. Hundreds of soulful gazes from dogs I’ve loved over the years.
Still, I yearn to share these solitary touching-fingertips-with-God moments. I write about them. Talk about the quality of light in these living prayers. Do my best to summon the scent of salt and sun, or the taste of rain in tropics, or the velvety feel of an eel’s skin under my bare palm. Sharing these moments makes them more real. So, I exult in being alone with nature and with God. And then run right home and share the experience with close, trusted friends. After the event is safe, wrapped in my memory in a crazy quilt of love stitched by these people, only then am I free to share with the world.
The friends I treasure most are those I trust enough to share those first, raw, warm, vulnerable tales of joy.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is when Jesus says, “Don’t throw your pearls before swine.”
A pig will root precious pearls into the dirt, cover them with mud and, even if I manage to dig through the muck and reclaim each once-luminous orb, the pearl will be forever tainted with pig shit.
Almost anyone will coo and soothe when disaster strikes, but for me, friends are those with whom I share moments of joy.