Far away at the end of a beautiful pier, a custom-built shed houses a most wonderful thing. A lifeboat, primed and ready at all times to thunder down the slope and into the thrashing seas to rescue the lost and floundering.
In the UK, lifeboats are manned by trained volunteers, and at any hour of the day or night, they can be called upon to make their way, post-haste, to their station, to effect a rescue. And so often their heroics go unnoticed. Yet quite apart from the valiant bravery of those sailors who risk so much for strangers, the lifeboats themselves are remarkable things.
Incredibly buoyant and manouevreable, packed with the latest gadgetry and equipment, these boats are truly the pinnacle of sea-rescue – a welcome fast response and floating refuge for those in need – they pluck their targets from the stormy waters and bring them back to safer waters.
Today, a dear friend of mine commented to me that in spite of all the troubles and challenges I face, I have been blessed with many ‘lifeboats’: my family; my friends; my faith; my job; my home…and that for now, a good idea would be to focus on them. On these blessings.
And truly it’s the friends-and-relations for whom I’m most thankful.
You are my lifeboats.
No gimmicky copy&paste awards for this one. Just simple truth – without you I would be lost.
You are *so* fast to respond when I begin to flounder, and so fierce, and even as I roll my eyes and wallow and bitch, a smaller part of me is paying attention to the depth and strength of your care, and later my eyes grow huge with wonder. Because I know that there’s nothing I could do to deserve or earn your affection and the warmth of our friendship, but that it is a gift, freely given of the generosity of your spirit, and I marvel.
You encourage and support and validate without indulging me, and are quick to point out the Reals of the situation when I start growing maudlin and fatalistic, and that is brave and vastly underappreciated at the time, but it genuinely does make a difference – your opinion is important to me, and I must try to remember that your perspective is the clearer for being a) once removed and b) life-wiser.
You let me feel my Feels, you listen to my tears, you wrap yourself around me (in person or spirit) in hugs which begin to lift me from the mired places of darkness I find myself so frequently in this season.
You make me tinysmile. Or giggle. Or HUGESMILE. Or *snork* with laughter. And these things are SOHUGE, because I know that when I’ve lost my sense of humour, shit just got bad.
You pray, send warm thoughts, best wishes, warm fuzzies…all these can *only* help. I’m sure of it.
You share so much with me – your sympathy, compassion and encouragement, but also your wisdom, your experience, your advice. Your story. Your self. And you are utterly and endlessly wonderful for doing so.
You take time from your day to look after me.
You find poignant words of hope, to rescue mine.
You cheer me up and teach my spirit to soar again, and I feel the reprieve.
You remind me that there’s silliness and fun to be had.
You remind me that there’s a whole world out there, carrying on, and that it’s worth climbing out of this hole to be part of again.
You’re not afraid to tell me off when I need it, but you won’t let me be too hard on myself.
You hold my hopes and remind me that they’re worthwhile.
You help me be mindful that this is not yet the end – that things will be different, but that it’s okay to feel the depth of Now, and you hold me as I nearly-but-not-quite-drown.
You shine the sunshine of your love and care into my saddened heart, and I can remember the colour of blue skies and begin to glow.
And whether your words are spoken into my ear and muffled by a hug, delivered through my letterbox by the postman, or wired across continents and oceans by the awesome power of the internet, they matter.
Because lately, in spite of everything, and throughout everything, I’ve somehow been able to stand joyfully accused of many incredible things – of encouraging others, of Goodness, of loveliness and wonder – and I know that I might be broken, but am not destroyed, and that’s in large part to you. When I fall apart, you’re there, picking up the pieces and helping to stick me back together to carry on trying to make the world a tiny bit better, one Good Thing at a time.
I can say it no better than Josh can sing it – and this is dedicated – with love I can still feel and express thanks to the example I’ve been set by each of my darling lifeboats – to you.
I’m not going to list you all, partly because I don’t want to miss anyone out, and partly because it’s not about naming and faming. It’s about you. And me. And if you read this and you think “Am I part of this? Does she mean me? I can see myself in some but not all of this…” then yes. It’s for you.
Because if I wrote properly, to each of you, how wonderful you are and how much you matter, I’d never stop writing. Truly.