November 28, 2013

The cost of love

On a certain website I visit regularly for the discussion forums, one submitter asked today, "Who do you love as more than a friend?"

This, at first, seemed like a difficult question to answer, but then I realized I've been meditating on the very answer to that question for some time now.

Obviously, any one of us could say "my mother" or "my spouse" or similar.  Duty tells us to name our family and our caregivers.  But by the context of the forum, I assume the submitter really meant "of your friends, whom do you love as more than just friends?"

If that's the question, I'll confess that my current medical crisis has cast into hard relief the various strata of friendships I do have and that as I have recently realized, there is a level of friends that is far nearer and dearer to my heart than even my siblings.  There are a few fellow CF patients in my life whose health is as precarious as mine - or only somewhat better or somewhat worse.  And it's those individuals for whom I would not only go to the mat - as one does with all good friends - but would positively give up my position on the lung transplant list, or pass on an offer, if it could mean they'd get new lungs first. For the first time in my life, I care so much for a certain few individuals (outside of romantic love) that I would literally die for them.

In realizing that, I have discovered a new dimension in what it means to be an adult and a man.  A man's desire to live is strong, but his desire for his friends to survive is even stronger.  This has nothing to do with the noble concepts of chivalry still ingrained in a youth well brought up, but rather has organically grown from my core: a true desire to see my friends - these friends in particular - survive, grow strong, and live their lives with passion, even if the cost of that should be my own second chance.

By sweat and pain, we each of us has surely earned the ticket for passage to a better, happier life than what we now endure.  But if there is not enough room on the ferry for all of us, then I will do my best to put my friends on the boat, while I stay on this shore and hope another ferry comes before it's too late.

Earlier tonight, I spent a few precious hours with one of those friends and her family and for a brief time we could forget our illnesses and just be happy over a board game and some pie.  Tonight, I was reminded of the sweet taste of the simple things in life and that this fight is worth it not for the inherent value of our lives alone, but because we have each other.

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