Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Birthday Gift

In two days, I mark my 52nd birthday. (Celebrate seems a bit too strong a word at the moment.) My wife has asked me what I want for my birthday, and I can think of no thing I need or desire, except that which is currently out of the financial realm of possibility. Plus, a motorhome would not fit easily into a box.

Actually, I have probably already received the best birthday gift I have ever been given - the gift of another person's friendship. Given the circumstances under which we met (as explained in an earlier post), it is surprising that we became friends. The speed at which we became friends is perhaps even more surprising.

Today, I got the news from my friend that she will be leaving the company for which we both work January 2 to take another, hopefully more lucrative job. It is sooner than I would hope for, although I certainly understand and support her reasons. Thankfully, it is a little later than I was afraid of. I believe we will remain friends, although the circumstances will change as I will no longer have the instant gratification of being able to pick up the phone and call her as we are both working. That may be a good thing, at least for her.

For several years in the 1990s, I was in the habit of throwing my own birthday party, cooking dinner for those who came, and giving them presents rather than receiving them. In the spirit of that somewhat short-lived tradition, I want to give a present to my newest and deepest friend. It has been some time since I tried my hand at poetry, so I hope it will not offend or come across as too cheesy.

Ode To A Friend

When inner darkness threatens to engulf
That which beats within me
You bring much needed sunlight
And shine it on my icy soul.
Your understanding countenance
Rekindles the fading spark inside
And breathes new fire into dying embers
Saved from myself again.

I am rescued from despair's dark depths.
Your kind thought, verbally caresses
Restoring in me the strength
To do battle once more and face the coming day.
You selflessly give the greatest gift,
Accepting me, warts and all, this unholy, ungodly mess
And show me my better, most possible self.

Whether Philia or Agape or some of both, I do not know.
You hold me tender in your thoughts and words
And I am washed clean by my tears
Raised up by your kindness
You honor me more than I deserve
This crowning achievement made possible
By a gentle heart I can never hope to repay.

My meager gift so sparse compared
To all that you have given
But I give it freely, gratefully, with thanks.
For what special tribute, far-reaching accolade
Do I wax so freely and without abandon?
No more and certainly no less than this -
You called me friend.

This badge of honor I most proudly wear
Today and all of my tomorrows
Until that which flows within runs to dust.
This gift you offer me I now offer back
and call you friend.
To be so much and nothing else, it is enough.
For I am rich beyond compare.

Happy birthday to me.

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