Softly. Flakes fall, seeking for cushion on which to land. Wanting. For lodging. Connection, attachment. In need of that which is found, only in community. Longing to be more than merely that singular one. Searching, in their spiralling descent, for the many. And when that final security of joining the multitude is realized, when that comfort of solid ground is found, a layer of millions is formed. Ice crystals spread in layer upon layer of sparkling glory. Formed in perfect solidarity, through connection. Allowing many stratums of snowflakes attached at the point to form a blanket of white that stretches as far as the eye can behold. Tiny, delicate. Sparkling frozen transparencies. Holding one another up- even in their fragility. Boldly conveying strength in numbers. No longer one, but many: joined in the common effort of covering stark, barren landscape.
Creating something beautiful out of dark, frozen austerity.
Such is the beauty of friendship when it covers for our singular weakness, making much of what is little. What God has joined together, let man not separate. What ordinary mortal could separate one snowflake from another without the tools of science? We are wont to accept the mystery and left simply to enjoy the complexity. That together, in their vulnerable plurality, in their minute complexity, they are much more than solitary snowflakes. They are many- a blanket to cover, protecting the hardened earth until the promise of spring.
These, a humble shroud formed from the common bond of both the falling down and the holding one another up.
One is also wont of such beauty in friendship by times. Desiring that kind of relationship that unites in commonality, in desire and purpose. A friend indeed is one who loves at all times. Often our best efforts are usurped at the part of that phrase “…at all times.” Time is of the essence. We are so busy, so rushed, so consumed with our lives. We forget that at all times means right now. We must love in that pure sense of the word.
In this moment. Now.
It is hard enough to keep the eyes open to needs around us. We are consumed by many things. And too often, we fail to see the opportunities even when they present before our very eyes. Opportunities to reach out. To that one in dire need of a friend, of a listening ear. Failing to realize the opportunities to help. That friend needing a shoulder to lean on. Those opportunities to listen. To lend an ear, a caring heart.
We speak of love. Greater love has no one than this: that she lay down her life for a friend. We lay down our own busy schedules, our time, our pressing concerns. We lay them down on the altar of self-sacrifice and we say this: others first. Holding onto and falling together, because life is often about identifying with the descent of others. But then. Holding on to one another, lifting each other up. Because life is not all about me. It’s about us. And I am not actually number one:
HE is. You are. I am. We are.
Looking out for ‘me first’ leads often to loneliness in the end. Looking to Him first leads to joy and peace. And making others the next priority brings much satisfaction.
It is a life well-lived.
She asks if she could make me something, she who is crafty, more talented than I. A resource for my classroom. It would take from her weekend, from her time. And I quickly tell her no, I don’t wish to be a bother. I am hesitant to take her offering of time, spent creating something for me. But she insists. And so I am swayed to cave in and accept her help. To receive her gift of time. And this treasure, it comes on the day I need it the most. On a day when I am falling. Like these snowflakes outside my window. And although she might never know it, this love offering is received as it were, as if she was coming alongside, holding me up in spirit. As a true friend does. An offering of love, this token of friendship.
And I know that like a snowflake. She is one of a kind.