"When you're down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon i will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night..."
A dear, and cherished, friend sent me this video clip of James Taylor singing Carole King's, "You've Got a Friend" today. It was perfect.
And before the end of this post I will include links to two other versions...I hope you enjoy them.
But back to today's story...
As I mentioned, above, it was perfect. But it was more than just the act of sending of a song that she already knew I loved. And it wasn't because I was "down and troubled", or that "the sky above me was dark and full of clouds." In some ways I was, and they were. But that wasn't the point. It was simply her way of saying, "I am thinking of you". And that is why it was so perfect. It is exactly what friendship is really all about. And it touched me deeply to know that she had actually spent time considering what I might enjoy, pondering what might mean something to me, and wondering if, and how, it might bring me comfort.
It is an extraordinary gift. To give someone space in your consciousness. To embrace their being, to "think on" their identity, and to consider them as worthy of thought. This, more than any other one thing, says "You've Got a Friend" to me.
Thought is the most valuable resource in the universe. It is the most direct indication of our relationship to the divine. And to devote even one millisecond of this most remarkable gift to considering another person is the most wonderful gift we can give them.
Mary Baker Eddy, in her last published volume, The First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany, in a brief article titled "What Our Leader Says," has this to say about taking thought for another:
"Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited."
And in her Miscellaneous Writings 1883 - 1896 she states:
"When thought dwells in God, — and it should not, to our consciousness, dwell elsewhere, — one must benefit those who hold a place in one's memory, whether it be friend or foe, and each share the benefit of that radiation. This individual blessedness and blessing comes not so much from individual as from universal love: it emits light because it reflects; and all who are receptive share this equally."
To benefit another by resting our good thoughts upon them is the gift of the ages. It is the Christ consciousness in action. It is the friendship that knows no friendlessness. When we think of another with genuine love, cherish their hopes with tenderness, defend their dignity with vigilance, and appreciate their gifts with unfailing spiritual wonder and fadeless joy...we are giving them the gift of thinking about them in a way that each of us longs to experience.
I remember one Christmas, some years ago, when I had nothing to spend...no money for buying gifts, no extra food in the pantry for baking treats, no extra gas in the car for making visits, and nothing left to re-gift.
I was considering my options when the Bible story of the poor widow woman from I Kings came to mind. The prophet asks her, "what hast thou in thine house?" and she replies, "a handful of meal and a cruse of oil..." I thought about that cruse of oil and Mary Baker Eddy's definition of "oil" in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in which she writes:
Oil. Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.
I realized that I could take each of the people I loved...and longed to give something special to that Christmas...and sit with them in my heart pouring this "oil" of consecrated, charitable, gentle, prayerful, heavenly-inspired thoughts on them, each for one half hour. After I finished bathing them in "oil", I wrote them each a letter pouring out my love and gratitude for all that they meant to me.
Each letter took days to write. I wrote a draft, and then copied it onto a clean sheet of paper, signed it, decorated the margins with tiny drawings and designs I made with colored pencils, and put it in an envelope. Christmas day I gave each person their letter. Those who weren't present around the Christmas tree with us, had received theirs by mail earlier in the week with a note to save until Christmas morning. It was the purest gift of love I knew how to give. I still think it is.
I can't tell you what they felt when they read their letters, but I can tell you how I felt knowing that I'd been blessed by the gift of having devoted time to thinking about my loved ones in a consecrated way, and then being able to share the heavenly inspirations of awareness, and spiritual awe, I'd gleaned during that deep reflection. It filled me with all the beauty, intelligence, talent, wisdom, joy, creativity, brilliance, rationality, etc. I'd appreciated and cherished about them. By holding them in my heart and in my thoughts, loving all that they were, all that they expressed, all that they represented of the divine, I..myself... became one with those qualities, and they became a part of me. I was reciprocally blessed.
It makes me think of the woman who came to wash Jesus' feet while he dined at the Pharisee's house. After washing his feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair, and kissing them, she anoints them with costly and fragrant oil. Having co-hosted numerous foot-washings, where we used fragrant (and costly) Sandalwood oil, I know that its strong, hauntingly lovely frangrance doesn't just cling to feet of the one washed...leaving its scent every where he goes, but also on the hands of the one who is doing the anointing...perfuming all that he/she touches along the way. When we think of someone with love, anointing our view of them with the oil of "consecration, charity, gentleness, prayer, heavenly inspiration," it lingers on both our lives for a very long time...perhaps an eternity!
So, when my dear friend...or my children, my husband, my mother, my siblings, my colleagues, my Facebook "friends"...send me a note, a video clip, a voicemail message, a card, a letter, an email telling me that they are thinking of me, I don't take it lightly. I treasure it as something more precious than gold, more enduring than platinum, more brilliant than light. It tells me, in no uncertain terms, "You've Got a Friend". And Eddy says in her autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection:
"There are no greater miracles known to earth
than perfection and an unbroken friendship."
So dear friends, thank you for the miracle you give me each time you let me know you are thinking of me. Thank you for holding me, even for an instant, in your thoughts. Thank you for giving me the most vital and valuable resource you, or I, or anyone can possess...our thoughts.
I am so blessed.
"...You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
Ain't it good to know
that you've got a friend..."
Thank you for being my friend,
Kate Robertson, CS