In my closet, I have several sacks of the cards friends and family sent to me while I went through treatment. I still look through them and smile at all the people who offered support and showed their love. The cards are just a physical reminder of the wonderful thoughtfulness of the people in my life.

How do you thank somebody for showing you that they love you? For loving you? My response was to show them I love them as well.

In some ways, a thank-you note would have been so much easier.

Without doubt I am made better by remembering the good in people. My life is richer and my soul stronger. To be honest, though, sometimes it is darn difficult to be a good friend and family member. Love is so easy to write, so hard to practice.

It can be a personal challenge to get over my snarkiness about friends’ and family members’ occasional oddities and weaknesses. Sometimes people just get on my nerves. I mean, why is one friend so picky and another so unreliable and another….you get the idea.

I, of course, am perfect.

I noticed my impatience peaking this winter with my realization that as my friends are getting older they are developing some traits I could do without. And I choose strong women as friends, so I am surrounded by a certain amount of bossiness that can be wearing. I seldom am bossy in return, of course, because at that perfection I mentioned.

So, on this journey to spring, I am taking deep breaths and realizing that the picky friend was with me when I was sick and from then on, that the unreliable one was completely dependable in her love, that quirks make them interesting and I have always loved interesting people. And that they love me despite everything.

So, here I am, breathing deeply and smiling at the memories of the love that surrounded me when I was sick and that surrounds me still.

And resolving to continue giving thanks by showing my own love.

Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

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