"Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I'll be there, yes, I will

You've got a friend."

~Carol King


Years ago my best friend and I developed a strategy to keep in touch. We were both raising young families, and living a four hour drive away from one another the phone (the kind that hangs on the wall) was our best option. It was back in the day of long distance charges, and both being a little short on spare change, we came up with a plan. We called it Ring-Once-And- Hang-Up, and it worked just like it sounds. Whenever either one of us needed some support, were having a rough day, were having an especially good day, or just plain missed one another, we would call the other person and then hang up after one ring. Whether our phones rang off the hook, one ring at a time of course, or didn't ring at all on a particular day, that plan was a lifesaver. On the days we never called, just knowing we could kept us going. On the days that we did, in the silence following that one ring we could hear one another's voice, feel one another's love, and be reminded that despite the distance, we were not alone. 

In the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, contestants are given three lifelines, one of which is called Phone-a-Friend. Contestants can use this option to call a friend or relative to get their input on the correct answer to the question before them. Contestants usually try and reserve their lifelines for later use, since the stakes go up as the game goes on.

That sounds a lot like life to me. When we're faced with the inevitable dilemmas, not sure which path to choose, uncertain which option best connects who we are with how we want to live, the good input of a good friend is always a good idea. Today alone I've used my Phone-a-Friend lifeline several times, connecting with friends and family to get input on the right answers to the questions before me. And I've had several people use their lifeline to call me.

In the game of life, the friends who are our lifelines are some of our most valuable lines of defense. When the stakes are high, it's good to have a friend to phone. Even if we only ring once and hang up.

Written with gratitude for those on the other end of my phone line.

Written with gratitude for those on the other end of my phone line.