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"Hi, friend!"

From the October 1982 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Loneliness can weigh heavy as a sack
of coal on the back.
My load bent me almost double,
that, and discouragement.
Its shadow stretching ahead down
a desolate street that led nowhere
was all the vision I had,
all that my bent-over eyes could see.
Then suddenly someone called out,
"Hi, friend!"

And I found you walking beside me companionably.
At first I was sure you'd sympathize with me
(poor me with my sack of coal on my back!);
then suddenly it struck me.
"What was it you called me?" I asked.
"Did you say friend?"

A dead weight seemed to lift,
and I found I'd left off being blind to all
but my mythical sack of coal.
I could see now that you smiled at me with
such Christly compassion, and warm spontaneity,
it almost seemed as though you recognized me.
Then all at once I understood.
"Why," I thought, "Christ Jesus told his disciples
'I have called you friends,'
and this healing friendship still claims its own
through everyone who reflects it!"