flora lee

Grateful for the Friend That Stayed!

Do you remember the very first friend you ever made? Perhaps it was in kindergarten- the kid who sat next to you on the first day of school.

I remember mine, very vividly.

Her name was Polly and she loved a particular candy that looked like a white stick but tasted like mint. Amidst my thousand tears and wishful lament to go back home, her face gave me some respite.

While I was yanking my head off, this kid was calm, chewing on that stick, not a care in the world.

We sat close together for around 2 weeks and then I got a new friend, or should I say, bench mate?

Ummm…Can I Call You…Friend?               

My new friend’s mom was one of our teachers and so even though in kindergarten you barely know how to tie your shoelace, you do have some intelligence to treat that kid well. (Maybe I am exaggerating or maybe I was just a bit smarter than others my age, who knows.)

sit with me!

Our seats were changed every fortnight, so no sooner did I gel with a kid than I would have to start all over again with a new one.

It was a painful process for me. Not because I was a shy kid but because I just could not let go!

Even as a kid, I had a real possessive personality- mine meant mine alone!

So, when it came to switching “friends,” I had a tough time letting go.

The process continued all through my school life. Friends came and went by. Some for days, some for months, and some just limited to a class after school.

We all have such friends, compartmentalized to different phases/ durations of our life.

When we get all grown-up and work for a living, those “so-called friends” take the form of colleagues, some of whom we sit next to for years, only to forget them when we “switch” to new roles.

How Long Will You Stay (this time)?

And yet, as social beings, most of us can’t stay isolated for long periods (tell me if COVID proved otherwise).

Through the cycle of making and losing friends, if you are lucky enough a few will stick around, perhaps for life.

Well, I have one such friend and I would call myself blessed to have found her.

Not lucky, mind you, but blessed!

Sometimes, I even wonder if the only reason I ended up in Kolkata for my degree was to meet her.

I did not know she was the one, until years later, when I turned around to find all new faces except one. My field had changed (I switched from CA to content, that’s a story for another time), my beliefs had changed, my relationships had changed, and yet one thing remained constant- her.

Flora Lee- the Friend Who Stayed

Do you know how to tell if a friend is worth their mettle? Right, when your friendship is inconvenient for them. (courtesy: John Wick 4)

the friend who stayed

A thousand pages cannot hold the amount of gratitude I have towards this girl who is perhaps the only major reason I know Christ as my Savior today.

She was that one friend among a hundred who knew their role as a “ true friend.”

She saw my worst and embraced me nonetheless, but the thing is she didn’t stop at the gesture. She prayed for me, guided me unto paths of wisdom, took me closer to my faith (the one I had been born into and yet knew little about), and stood by and watched as I transformed into my present version.

Not that I am there yet, but I am on my way.

The Voice in the Darkness

Of all my moments with Flora, I will never forget the day she mentioned, the still small voice.

It was one real dark day ( as dark as could be in the life of a college-goer who had just flunked their exams and knew no escape from a real toxic relationship).

There was noise all around me and darkness so dense that I could feel it tangibly, and that’s when she shared a note that I had given her, sometime back-

flora's note on the still small voice

And that’s when I knew what I could be grateful for, even in that blinding darkness- a friend that had chosen to stay!

Fast Forward 10 Years, Here We Are!

Last night, we had a small chat and Flora reminded me of how we would have known each other for 10 years, come this July.

At that moment alone a thousand memories flashed through my mind and my eyes swelled up with tears of joy for having found one single friend who could endure me for a decade (apart from Jesus, of course!)

But jokes apart, today I am grateful for the friends that stayed, especially Li Xing Xia Flora Lee.

flora lee

Thank you, Flower for pointing me toward the goodness of God, in every moment of our lives.

I am grateful to God for you!

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