The Sweetness of Friendship and Love in February

This morning I woke up to an email from a very dear friend.  The subject line read: “Joined the C Club.”  REALLY? (By the way, the “C Club” is the Cancer Club). F-bomb. Big time. This diagnosis is an addition to two other friends who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past 6 months. What is going on?!? Cancer doesn’t care about holidays, color, race or religion. The reality (with which I am now all too familiar) is that diagnoses happen all day every day around the world.  It is omnipresent.

When I hear horrible news, I look for Shining Moments. Before I talk about the SM’s, let me be clear: Breast cancer and any kind of cancer for that matter sucks.  I know that saying the word “sucks” isn’t ladylike.  And generally I like to be ladylike; however, cancer is not particularly ladylike and it definitely sucks.
So, though Shining Moments can never make a cancer diagnosis ok, finding them can make it less sucky.  Today, when I talked with my girlfriend about her diagnosis, we talked about the Shining Moments in her life (e.g, geographical access to great health care, strong foundation of friends, love, and a supportive family).

When I think about all of the SM’s in my life, love and friendship top the list! Friendship and love are things that, though I have always appreciated them, in hindsight, I know that I definitely took them for granted. (That was NOT easy to write and admit!) Until breast cancer, I was unaware of how powerful and positive love and friendships can be. No longer (Shining Moment).randi 2

When I think of love and friendship, they remind me of baking.  And I do love anything and everything baked. And sweet.

Now that I am acutely aware of what I eat (i.e., limiting sugar intake!), I appreciate every single bite of a super special sweet treat just in the way I appreciate every single experience with love and with my friends.

When I mentioned my philosophical analogy to one of my girlfriends, she agreed and said that baking is inherently sharing. And sharing is, after all, a huge part of love and friendship. We rarely bake just for individual consumption (except after a gnarly breakup, but those calories don’t count!). We bake to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

When we bake we add a little bit of this and a little bit of that just in the way we do in our relationships. Love, strength, humor, beauty, sadness and whole lotta sweetness are the ingredients for incredible love and friendship.

I also believe that when we bake, we always add elements of ourselves to a recipe. For example, I have a tendency to add vanilla to nearly everything that I bake, whether the recipe calls for it or not. Every little tidbit that we add to a baked delicacy makes it uniquely our own, which therefore makes it an extra special extension of ourself.

Difficult times, whether they be a cancer diagnosis or any other panoply of circumstances, force us to slow down and take in the beauty of a delicious piece of cake or the exquisiteness of a single flower.

Recently, over a table of shared sweet treats, I had the opportunity to thank a group of my friends who supported me during my tumultuous time in “Cancerville.” I was overwhelmed with emotion because I now appreciate the extensive role my friends have had in my treatment and recovery.  They are an inspirational source of hope. Always. And in all ways. I L.O.V.E. them with all my heart.

The highest adulation that I can receive is to be introduced as someone’s friend.  I consider love and friendship an honor and a gift, and worth every effort to treasure and nurture them.

So, I guess you can say Valentine’s Day has a special and deeper meaning for me. This holiday is not just about being in love; it’s about the friendships and love that come along with each recipe that has made me the person I am today.

Who are the friends who make you better than you would be without them? Who is better because of you in their life?

And, please don’t forget that when life is unsure, always eat your dessert first. ~ Anon

This article was brought to you by Montco Happening guest writer, friend and Happening List winner, Randi Rentz. Click here to check out her blog!

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