Friendship measured by heart


Patti Dobson

link Patti Dobson

Religion columnist

“You’ve been unfriended!” came the dramatic proclamation.

I paused before answering with a simple, “OK,” and shrugged it off.

The woman looked surprised and said it would hurt her feelings if someone unfriended her.

Because I couldn’t possibly be telling the truth about not being hurt by this, she reiterated how badly she’d feel if someone didn’t want to be her friend anymore.

I thought about that for a while. Someone clicking like or dislike, friending or unfriending, isn’t a true measure of friendship.

In my younger (foolish) days, something like this might have bothered me. Fast forward a few decades, when I’ve been knocked around by life, eh, not so much. Friendship, true friendship, looks and feels a lot different. It can’t be measured by a “like” or “dislike;” it’s measured by the heart.

My mother died of breast cancer nearly 15 years ago. She’s been dancing through my mind a lot lately.

Catherine Eileen — Kitty to her friends — was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 1999. She died a few months later on July 19.

There are encounters from that event that are forever etched in my mind and written on my heart.

I’d moved into my new home the night before my mom died. Phone service wasn’t due to be installed for a few days. Upon contacting the phone company and explaining what happened, they graciously sent out a service tech right away. My mom’s obit had hit the paper the night before and the phone had been ringing constantly. One phone call stopped me in my tracks.

Kay (Simmons) Arvizu was on the line, apologizing for not being there with me. She was calling from her hospital bed, where she was recovering from breast cancer surgery. This woman, beautiful inside and out, was apologizing to me for not being there while battling her own disease. To this day, I am still moved by her expression of friendship.

She called me every day thereafter, so many calls that I lost count. Sometimes nothing more than a simple, “thinking of you.” Other times, she’d offer a special thought or verse that had brought her comfort during her own dark moments.

She let me laugh, cry, yell. She didn’t judge. She just let me be — whatever and however I needed to be at the time.

Through the years, Kay has been a force to be reckoned with in my life and the lives of others. She has a presence about her; she radiates love. In all the years I’ve known her, I’ve been able to share my joys and concerns. I’ve shared my hopes, fears and dreams. Her friendship has been a constant source of joy.

That’s how friendship is measured — not by the clicking of a like or dislike.

A wise person shared this recently: “There are some people who will never like what you say or do simply because it’s you. That statement made me think of a Polish proverb, that someone — whose opinion I value dearly — shared with me: “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.”

Bottom line? We have to remember that the moments in our life, good or otherwise, aren’t for those people. Those moments are for us and for those with whom we choose to share, or with those we trust with our feelings, our good and hard times.

Choose wisely. Choose with the heart.

Patti Dobson writes about faith for the Portales News-Tribune. Contact her at:

[email protected]


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