This week on God 52, we’re thinking about intentional friendship. In this guest post, writer Lucy Mills considers how true friendship can be measured…
Which sounds weird, and perhaps a little dodgy. Is this some new drug?
No. When we say carpet, we mean carpet. That stuff people use to cover floors with, you know?
I suppose I’d better explain.
When I was studying for my degree, I made some very close friends. Friends who knew more about me than most. Friends with whom I snuffled with laughter and sniffled with tears.
And then there was the carpet snorter. Let’s call her Sarah, because that is her name.
Sarah and I did our fair bit of snuffling and sniffling. It was quite obvious from the beginning that this friendship would be marked by a lot of hilarity, as well as honest tears. (We even bellow with laughter about the bad bits in life. It makes them slightly more manageable.)
We would laugh so hard it crippled us; other students would find us hanging from the railings on the college staircase, unable to continue our upward (or indeed downward) journey because laughter had stolen our ability to use our legs.
(Sarah was not the only friend with whom I collapsed under the weight of joy; there were others – dear Susan, with whom I was bundled down the fire escape, because our mirth was too big for one library. The memory still gets me a-snuffling.)
One day, Sarah and I were laughing. About what? Who knows. We laughed so hard we ended up lying on the floor. And then, through splutters, one of us said: “I just snorted carpet up my nose!”
I think it was Sarah, but it might have been me. In the moments of laughter we merged into one giggling entity.
But the phrase was coined, and thus it is how we measure a friendship.
“I’ve made a new friend, but I don’t know if she is carpet snorting material,” one tells the other.
“I really need to meet a carpet snorter,” says one, on moving into a new neighbourhood.
I’m moving in the autumn. New area, new church, new neighbours. I really hope there’s a carpet snorter there somewhere. It will be a challenge in making new friends but also in maintaining old ones. I’ll need to work at keeping friendships alive.
Because even (or especially) carpet snorting friends aren’t made automatically; we need to invest, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Both laughter and tears come from a place of vulnerability. Being ourselves, whatever the world thinks. Challenging one another to find shared joy where there was only individual sadness.
We call it carpet snorting.
Lucy Mills is a freelance writer and member of the Magnet editorial team – an ecumenical Christian resources magazine. Her website and blog can be found at www.lucy-mills.com. She tweets as @lucymills. Her big passion is the book she’s writing, called ‘Forgetful Heart’ – looking at what it means to remember God in our daily lives, and confessing she’s not very good at it.