A friend who can experience terrifying glimpses into your mind without blinking is a keeper.
A friend like that does anything but judge. A friend like that is also a sounding board. A way to release the pressure of thoughts that build up in one’s head. For when I talk to my best friend, I feel like a pressure valve has been released.
Part of it is how deeply she cares, and the extent to which she can put herself aside to help me. Even with a new baby who wreaks havoc on her sleep and sanity, even while undergoing the incomprehensibly overwhelming sensations and life-altering complications that come with being a wife and a mother, she asks me how my life is. How work is. How this blog is going, how my family is. And she doesn’t ask once. She asks and asks and asks continuously until some buried nugget that has been festering has finally been unearthed. She rolls up her sleeves, urges me and pleads with me to join her until I give in, and we get to work.
I sometimes think of how ironic it is that my loneliness comes from being a person of faith. When it comes to being a friend, Muslims have to, first and foremost, be generous. And selfless. We have to forgive, overlook, and lend support. We have to honour our friends as guests and pray for them in their absence. We have to give and give and give. And not expect gratitude. Not expect anything, really, in return, because we seek our return not from them, but from God.
I’ve upheld this model for many years now, and while I’m grateful for how much it simplifies things, let me tell you one thing: at times, all that giving can take a real toll on you.
My deepest friendship is the one that is not so centered on giving. Somehow, all of my generosity is returned to me by manifold by this one woman. The giving and taking are divinely proportioned, reminding me of how Allah draws much closer to us as we try and get closer to Him.
I cannot define what it is that makes her so, and the inability to define her is part of why I love her so much. But I do know that she is a divinely bestowed gift. She’s a mechanism Allah built into my life so that I can come close to understanding what it is that goes on inside my head, so that I can understand what divine love is. She is there so that I can keep being me.