I can't describe the comfort I take when seeing what a true friend is made of. The most recent example of this was watching a dear friend wielding an axe, going whole-heartedly at a stubborn, hard-wooded shrub with multiple roots in my yard. This shrub had been there for over 10 years, its roots and stems twisting and intertwining with each other until they were solidly tangled. The bane of my horticultural home owner's existence, it's been on my list for removal for years, but remained because I couldn't even imagine where to begin.
After a brief discussion one day, my friend arrived at my door with gloves, saws and an axe, and we proceeded to go at the tree until we won. I say we won because the damn thing fought back with its whip-like branches, scratchy needles and a hidden bed of poison ivy beneath it that we found the hard way.
When all was said and done, I had a pile of redwood cedar for burning, a clear view of my driveway from my front door, and a big planting bed in one of the few sunny spots in my yard. It is an open space to sow something new, for beauty or nourishment, filled with moist, healthy soil and etched by smooth stones.
What I loved most about the day, though, was not the sense of accomplishment we gained when this once-insurmountable (to me) job was completed. Rather, it was seeing my friend in a deeper sense. Metaphorically, her arriving to help me with my problem, staying on until the job was done, and repeatedly whacking away at the issue, piece by piece, was illuminating. As together we slowly removed one of my life's miseries, I saw her for the friend she really is: one who is unafraid to stand by my side and help me pull away painful elements of my life when I cannot do it alone, ripping them free from the tangles of long history. Getting rid of the bad, that which we no longer need, clears the way for new and better things to take root.
Call it therapy, or just plain loyalty. While it may sound corny, this is what friendship is all about. Connecting, helping, respecting and caring. I don't have a big circle of friends, but the ones I have are more valuable to me than I can put into words. I believe this is why we were put here on Earth: to help each other through the rough spots so that we can become the best we can be, and to make our life's journey as good and rich as it can be.