On Friends, Weeds, and Finding the Way Home

Yesterday I was in the weeds.

I had too many projects, all of them urgent, and far too little time in which to complete them.  I’ve talked very little about my day job here, and intend to keep it that way, so details will be sparse, but the most common meaning of “in the weeds” – a restaurant kitchen and/or wait staff that cannot keep up with the orders, reaches critical mass, and prepares to go down in (sometimes literal) flames – pretty much explains it.  My day job normally involves a low-stress office environment (in an admittedly high-stress profession) so when the weeds get high things can get pretty crazy around here.

In the middle of the afternoon, just when the weeds looked worst, I got a googletalk ping from a very good friend.  We normally chat a little during the day, if only to check in and offer a happy word.  When yesterday’s ping came in, however, I was on the phone with one client, on hold with a second and emailing a third – while trying to get a document completed and onto the fax machine.  In other words – IN THE WEEDS.  If you had asked me what I wanted least at that very moment, “interruptions” probably would have been high on my list.

And in this case, I would have been wrong.

The ping came across my screen just as client #2 put me on hold.  I stopped, took a breath, and responded.

“How’s your day?”

I’m in the weeds.  Bigtime.

We exchanged a couple of comments – hers of a consolatory nature, mine less lengthy than normal, and the conversation went into the background as my client came back on the line.

I thought little more about it until three hours later.  By that time I had cleared most of the problems off my desk and started to come back to earth, though the accumulated stress of six hours’ worth of emergencies had started to take its toll.

Ping. A new Googletalk message.  From the same friend.  It read:

“Maybe this will help.  http://www.amazon.com/WG151-5-18-Volt-Lithium-Cordless-Electric/dp/B001VEJHSU/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1288821464&sr=8-11

Click through if you like.  I did.

Yes…it’s a weed whacker, and it made my day.  Not just for the humorous element, though I admit I needed the laugh in the worst possible way.  It made my day because it reminded me that I have a friend who cares enough about me to (a) check in with me and see how I’m doing, and (b) hunt down a weed whacker for me when the weeds get high.

Friends like that are real treasures, and also beacons that remind us of the people we could and should aspire to be.  They know when to encourage, when to be silent, and when to offer a helping hand and lead us out of the weeds, even (and especially) when we didn’t know the way home.

I am grateful for my friend, for the weed whacker, and even for the weeds, because they gave me the opportunity to see a blessing I rarely stop long enough to recognize.

Who led you out of the weeds this week?