Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Grateful for friends shining like the sun

By LORRAINE MURRAY, Commentary | Published November 21, 2018

My cat, Fuzzy, was hiding under the couch, and as I tried to coax him out, he vamoosed across the room and secured himself beneath a chair.

After my friend Cathy and I chased him around for a while, we finally captured him and attempted to pour him into the carrier, but he struggled mightily, flailing about and meowing—and escaping again.

After five more tries, I turned to Cathy and said, “Maybe we should attempt this again tomorrow.”

But she doesn’t give up easily, and she soon had Fuzzy securely in the carrier, and then he was on his way to the vet for his annual shots.

“I don’t know what I’d do without you,” I told her later.

And this is so true, because some things simply can’t be done solo, and getting a large, rambunctious tomcat into a carrier tops the list.

Ever since my husband died, my friends have come to my aid in countless ways, so I’m thanking God for them with every fiber of my being on Thanksgiving Day.

One friend shows up in February to prune the grapevines and trim the fig tree. He also installed a home security system and helped me navigate the choppy waters of financial planning.

My neighbors’ teenage son rescued me from a marauding giant roach that was perched on the ceiling over my bed.

Friends have replaced batteries in smoke detectors, added deadbolts on doors and salvaged the hard drive after lightning struck my computer. They’ve driven me to the airport in the wee hours of the morning.

And after I had a meltdown over the phone, my friend Pam showed up at the front door with my goddaughter, Sarah, along with clusters of flowers and hugs.

Most of all, I’m grateful for the countless prayers that have poured forth for my husband. All the Masses offered for his soul, all the rosaries, all the suffering turned into petitions for his spiritual benefit.

Still, being on the receiving end of favors can be a lopsided situation, so I’m also thankful my friends seek my help, whether it’s picking up a child from school, taking a teenager to church or feeding the family hamster.

As Catholics, we believe in the Communion of Saints, that mystical union of people on earth, souls in purgatory and souls in heaven. Love binds us all together, and prayers help strengthen the connection between friends, which is forever.

Trappist monk Thomas Merton was standing on a busy sidewalk watching crowds of people hurry by, when he suddenly had a stunning realization.

He saw, “the secret beauty of their hearts…the person that each one is in God’s eyes.”

“There is no way of telling people they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

Even on the dreariest, darkest days, that’s how I picture my friends—shining like the sun—because they bear the bright love of Christ in their hearts.

On my dining room wall there’s a purple sticky note from Cathy and her family, which reads simply, “We love you, Lorraine!” I keep it there to remind me that God’s love reaches us through our friends.

Let’s thank the Lord for our friends who are shining messengers of his love. Let’s thank him for the secret and eternal beauty of their hearts.