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There are two questions you can ask your friends to weed out who are your real friends and who are just part of your orbit and/or crowd.

#1) Can I get a ride to and/or from the airport?

and

#2) Can you help me move?

These are age-old conundrums that have remained a solid litmus test for years.  The reason?

Well, for one, no one likes going to the airport unless it is to depart on some well-deserved vacation of their own.  The idea of fighting the deadly breed of traffic that only occurs in airport terminals is enough to make most of consider making that twelve-hour drive instead when we travel ourselves.  But, to brave the airport, a region of time/space where there are no rules except the cruel anarchy of civilization gone horribly wrong, and not have drinks with little umbrellas waiting at the other end is a supreme sacrifice of both time and sanity.

As for moving, here we enter a wholly different realm.  When someone asks you to help them move there is always one of a few reactions.  First, there is the immediate creation of excuses as to why you are not available to do so.  This reaction shows the immediate fear of the moving experience usually engendered in someone who has undergone it with unusual frequency for whatever reasons.  The second is the pause.  The pause occurs as one looks around themselves and imagines the Herculean effort it would take to take all the possessions currently surrounding them, pack them, load them, unload them elsewhere, and then unpack.  This contemplation usually results in either a very unenthusiastic “yes” or a hesitant inquiry as to when laced with hope they are busy.  The third, and at times most unusual, answer is the immediate, and unqualified, offer to assist.

Interestingly, my wife and I were put to both these tests in a single weekend.  A friend of ours was returning to the airport after a business trip and the following day a friend was moving.  Both of these people rise well above being simply in my orbit.  They are treasured friends who I feel truly privileged to have in my life.  They are also people who I know would be there for me in a heart beat. There was no hesitation in either answer.  I simply took care of my friends as I knew they would take care of me. And looking back, it is good to know that in all the turmoil, chaos, and confusion in my life these days that I have places where I truly belong.  And that feeling is one I cannot repay no matter what is asked of me.

So to all who are friends, all who are family, all who have made me who I am now and always, thanks again for a place to feel safe to be me.

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