There used to be a game show called Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I don’t know, perhaps it is still on. I don’t watch a lot of tv anymore other than the streaming channels with their endless choices of entertainment. My husband and I settle down for “our show” of the moment and escapism at its best. I handle the news in small doses from different sources but not the Nightly News like we did back in the day. This game show would typically precede or follow, and it was fun to root for the individual hoping to beat the odds and take home that million. As questions became increasingly difficult you could almost see the sweat bead up on the foreheads of the contestant as their minds flew through their library of knowledge. There was one option if the answer eluded them and I always found it intriguing. It was called Phone a Friend. I always imagined that this “friend” had been carefully selected for their wisdom and would wait patiently for that call with a jittery stomach all topsy turvy not wanting to let their friend down. “Were they really a friend?”, my jaded mind considered or perhaps just a smart person chosen for their wisdom.
Yesterday, I fell off this razor thin tight rope I had been walking all week of keeping emotion in check. We are selling our family home and these deeply embedded memories are all tied up here. Laughter. Hugging. Fighting. Door slamming. Making up. Making out. Candles in the Thanksgiving Turkey. Christmas with matching pajamas. Empty nesters. Friends around the dinner table. Easter egg hunts for adults and children and invariably finding “unfound” eggs throughout the year. Ministries started. Family, family, family. Three pets lovingly buried with crosses bearing their names. Watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire. A change of plans sends me into a full out sob fest.
“Yup, Yup, I’m not ok. Phone a friend, yes, phone a friend, that is what I will do.”
We are probably too old to say things like she’s my BFF or as Cristina to Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy, “She’s my person.” She has been with me through years and years of mountain tops and valleys. She’s a rule follower and I am a rule breaker. I take great joy in making her accidentally break a rule and photograph her in the moment. “Hey lady, why are playing with the hula hoop in the kids only section,” I shout. I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for her. Of all people, she is the one that I can’t bear when she is mad at me. It is even harder going through seasons of disconnect, not walking on the same path. I hope we always find our way back.
Phone a friend. “Hi, how are you?’ my voice is shaking.
Your friend knows you, even the, I am strong but not really, kind of knows you. “What’s wrong?” Her soothing voice bubbles up my tears. I’m at a drive-thru pharmacy. It’s a bad time for a breakdown.
Ohhh, nothing I guess. “Liar,” I think to myself. “I was just checking in to see how you are” I say and think “oh yes, you’re the one person on my list for this kind of phone a friend.“
The thing about this kind of friend, even when we are off, puzzle pieces not quite fitting, I still know she is that one whom I will call. She is the one who knows my strengths and my weaknesses. She is the one who gets to be stern with me and sometimes I listen. I pray I am the same. She is the one I cry to, cry with, cry for and have laughed so hard till we cried yet again. She is a pretty crier. I am not. I hang up the phone, wipe my snotty nose know the answer is …
In this time of uncertainty, where it seems we stand upon shifting sands, we all need our phone a friend friend. Our spouses, our children, our therapist, our others – all very good and needed very much. This is not to discount their role. But they are in the studio audience and our phone a friend well they may just be getting wiser by the day and they are waiting by the phone. You need a phone a friend for those times when you just fall from the razor-sharp tight rope to the valley below. It happens, it’s ok. The valleys aren’t so bad. A beautiful river flows through it. It is called Grace and your phone a friend, “well isn’t that her enjoying the water’s edge just waiting for you.”
“Yep, Yep, I’ll make it through another day with boldness and grace. I thank God for my phone a friend. I won a gazillion dollars with that one!
This Post is dedicated to my BFF, my person, my phone a friend, Kelli Wadsten and all the other friends out there that are waiting for that call from your emotional friends. We need you!
Who is your phone a friend?