Did you know that coconut oil as a dietary supplement has many usages? Health care practitioners around the world use the oil as a substitute for butter in cooking and baking. Some practitioners even add the oil to smoothies. Recently, I discovered some of coconut oil’s unstated properties while recovering from a winter’s cold.
A few months ago, my sister gave me a 16-ounce coconut oil jar. The jar was half full. She said the jar was only a sample and that I should rub the oil on my face and hands . The oil would protect me from a summer sun and skin damage. Interestingly, the container’s label warned the user that coconut oil changes shape depending on the temperature. If above 76 degrees the oil liquefies into a smooth liquid; if below, the oil solidifies becoming more like a cold stick of slightly granulated butter.
Having caught a winter’s cold this last week, I applied the oil as my sister had instructed me earlier on—slathering it about my nose and mouth. The oil relieved the dryness and irritation that came with the overuse of facial tissue. And, it was in this smooth liquefying slathered state that I ran into my neighbor Mandy down at our community’s mailbox.
“You’re not feeling well, are you?” Mandy asked. It was more of a concerned caring statement rather than an inquiry. I wondered if she could smell the coconut oil. Her comment amazed me, however, as I had bundled myself in a knee-length down jacket, covering my head with the coat’s hood. Only my eyes and oil-slathered nose were available for notice. However, since moving to the apartment complex, I’ve come to understand that Mandy has an amazing hawk-like gift of observation.
“Yes.” I replied. “But I won’t get too close to you.” Just then, her cell phone rang. As she answered the call, I opened my mailbox, retrieved my mail, and stepped back while locking my mailbox. Standing in the 45°Abingdon weather, I wondered if any unabsorbed remnants of the coconut oil on my face weren’t solidifying into whitish butter-like globs. Quickly, I waved goodbye saying that we would talk later. Mandy nodded understandingly.
Although no buttery globs materialized, meeting Mandy at the mailbox got me thinking about life, neighbors, and friendships. I’ve discovered that friendship is not a product of human imagination, intuition, or ingenuity. Friendship cannot be bought or stolen. Real friendship is an act of trust on the part of two or more people with the intent of engaging in a caring, honest, and healthy relationship. As I think about the friendships over my lifetime, five words come to mind:
1. Eager. I like a friend who displays a keen expectancy or interest in a shared conversation or activity.
2. Accepting. Also, I like people as friends that hold a balanced regard for my feelings as well as their own. One that respects my life experiences as real—for me.
3. Trustful. A friend should be reliable, strong enough to speak the truth in all things, and has a peaceful inner strength that comes through especially during a crisis.
4. Wholesome. A decent or down-to-earth friend who naturally senses when to give an encouraging word also ranks high on my list.
5. Resilient. Finally, a person, who recovers quickly from a bad situation, to me, is of great regard.
Does a person like this actually exist? I think so. Along with family members, I think some of my neighbors, past and present, fall into this category.
Getting over a seasonal cold is challenging. And, there are several things that can help one recover quickly: Rest, lots of fluids, boxes of facial tissue, coconut oil, and perhaps most importantly, a good friend’s caring remark.