what friends can do

Sometime in the middle of Lent, my heart goes numb.  Words stop.

And when she finally reaches me through the arriving crowd at the airport,  all I can do is hug her, because the only thing in my throat is a lump and the fear of what really lies behind it. 

 We talk for hours, driving long roads to the ocean, to the city, to home, bookending the days with conversation

and yet the paralysis of my heart lingers.  

At the edge of the continent, at the edge of our visit, I confess it.  

She does what only a friend can do - tells me things about myself I have forgotten, points out the trail of God's hand through the confusion - things only a long-time, faithful friend would know.

And because she is who she is, shows me the simple graces I have missed.

Driving back home, I reach out and touch her arm.  It is a heart full of gratitude, not numbness, that makes me silent now.

Words begin to percolate again. 

Laughter comes more freely.

 All's grace.


(Photos by Ann Voskamp, Tonia Peckover, Nick Peckover)