The title of Amy Silverstein’s memoir alone really grabbed me – I really relate to that statement. I’ve preached about the church of my good friends all over the world. I have had many occasions in my life to stop and realize, hey, I know a bunch of the best people in the world. How lucky is that? The author of this memoir is lucky the same way.
She has friends she can joke around with. And they are the same friends who don’t expect this of her when she simply too exhausted by her heart condition to make another cute quip. They stay by her side when she has nothing to offer.
She has friends who send secret emails to each other about her – like a top secret help-our-friend-feel-better strategy team. Some of these emails details her hardest moments – with not a drop of irritation but with 2,000 gallons of let’s be there for her rallying cries.
She has friends who had a “light touch” when they were in their 20s – two decades later they now have the most profound relationships possible.
She has friends who take their friendships with her as a source of pride – people who are their best selves when they are paired with her. Friends who take pride in being a good friend to her.
She has friendships that have lasted through hard times, barely surviving but with a thin but constant thread of devotion to each other.
To quote a letter from one of her friends, written when odds were not in her favor…“You have lived a great life. It is in many ways heroic and historic. But while your disease has occupied so much of your time and energy, I don’t think of you as defined by it. I think of you as Amy, period: your sense of humor and irony; your creativity; your quick and distinct laugh; your generosity and friendship; your truth telling, even when it isn’t convenient.
You’ve touched so many people in ways you’ll never know. You’ve forced us to examine our lives and ask, What would we do if we were Amy? And I don’t mean if we faced your health issues: I mean, in our own lives, with our unique challenges: Why can’t we be more courageous? Why aren’t we more demanding and more direct? Why aren’t we more loving or more giving, in the face of struggle and pain?
I don’t know why. But I think about it a lot and I assure you, so do your family and friends.
You’ve lived a life that matters, one of great consequence. You’ve made people take notice. We are profoundly the better for it.”
I mean, who is cutting onions in here?! My allergies must be suddenly acting up… Hell, I even want to be her friend now after reading this book! And I definitely want to write some love letter to my own friends.
I really enjoyed this book, the moments it gave me to reflect on my real, true friends and to ponder the kind of friendship I offer. Loved it from the title to the last word, a summer read of great consequence. But wait! There’s more! I just heard that there is going to be a movie version!