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I recently read Salvation, by Anne Osterlund. I really enjoyed this book. The story was beautifully told and gave me a lot to think about. She deals sensitively with the hardships of being an immigrant family, loyalty, friendship, and the dream of having a better life, of being more and achieving more than those around you think you are capable of. In the book, Beth defines a friend. “He’s the one person who’s been there for me all year… He’s the one who actually thinks I’m worth something. Who cares about what I want. Who thinks I deserve to go to Stanford. Who listens!”
Today is my friend’s birthday. She invited me here to celebrate with her, a weekend away from the mounds of snow and biting cold, to enjoy the warm sunshine, the beach, the beauty of her home, and to visit old friends. Yet she has given me a gift too, a shelter from the sorrow of this day, when years ago, a small baby was born, and for a brief few moments I held her cold, still body and wept. My friend has given me the incomparable and amazing gift of friendship. She is always there for me. She cares about me, about my hopes and dreams. She always is encouraging me, and she has spent many hours listening to me. She listens! So, thank you, my friend. Happy birthday.

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