Friend: A Powerful Word

By Laura Bradford


There’s something very powerful, very magnetic about that word, don’t you think?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been in awe of what true friendship is. When I was graduating from high school and had to supply a quote for my yearbook photo—a quote that resonated for me—mine was about friends…

To make a friend, takes a minute. To be a friend, takes a lifetime.

Even now, more than thirty years after selecting that quote, I still nod my head at its timelessness. Yet   experience has also shown me that the use of lifetime can be rather relevant in regards to being a friend.   

A friend isn’t just that person you’ve known your whole life. Or that person you meet for lunch every week. We need those friends, sure. But very often it’s in a particular moment that the true definition of friendship really comes out.

A few years ago, tragedy struck my world in a way that had me needing help from others. I put out a call of sorts and it was answered in a way that still brings tears to my eyes. When it came time to thank them, I found a far more powerful—and oh so accurate—quote that summed up what they had done for me so perfectly…

Friends are Angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Go ahead and reread that.

I think most, if not all, of us find our thoughts straying to that person (or persons) who have been/done that for us at some point in our life. And the reason our thoughts jump to that person or persons is simple; the power in friendship is a beautiful, life-changing thing. It has the ability to strengthen the weak, to restore the hearts of the defeated, and to spread kindness and light. In fact, if someone were to ask me to come up with ten of the most powerful words, I’d put friend up there with things like love, kindness, empathy, and understanding.

So it’s really no surprise (for me, anyway) that when I look at all of my books written to date, the vast majority of them have friendship at their core.

My latest book, the women’s fiction novel, Piece by Piece, is no exception. Danielle Parker, my main character, is the neighborhood gold-medal mom we all know. But in the blink of an eye, she loses her entire family in a horrific accident.

How does a person get back on their feet after that? How do they find the strength to stand let alone ever fly again?

Friends are Angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

For me, for Danielle, for many of you reading this right now, we know the truth in those words because we’ve had those hands lifting us up. And, hopefully, we’ve also been the truth in those words for someone else—whether it’s someone we know well or even someone we don’t. Because that’s the thing about the word friend; it’s as much about a mindset of support and understanding as it is a specific title for someone in your life.

Some of the biggest angels in my life during times of upheaval or crisis have been people I knew but were more on the fringes of my life—a boss, a person I’d met through a freelancing gig, a parent of one of my child’s classmates, etc. People who heeded a specific request or call for help, or knew the need before the request was made and simply did what needed to be done. Just the thought of that—of that kind of friendship, that feeling of being surrounded by love and care—gets me all teary-eyed. Because it’s such a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

A powerful word, friend is. To be a friend to another person is to have the ability to turn despair into hope and to bring light where there is darkness. It makes a big world seem smaller and more intimate.

Recently, on my Facebook author page, I asked my readers to tell me some of the things they’ve done to either be a friend to someone or to keep in touch with a friend during a time of loneliness and despair for so many under the shelter in place orders across the country in the spring.

One reader told me she called an elderly person who lived alone every morning. To check in with her, to make sure she was okay, and to let her know she mattered. A simple act in the grand scheme of things, but a lifeline for the woman on the other end of the phone, no doubt.

Another reader told me about a weekly virtual gathering of friends that included karaoke of all things. That chance to be lighthearted and giddy provided the lift they all needed in the moment, and helped carry them through afterward with the memory of the fun they’d had.

Still another reader told me she’d taken to sending cards and letters in the mail—something that could be touched and felt and reread by the recipient as needed.

Another was a twenty-something who, along with a friend, cooked a specific dinner together (virtually), got dressed up in pretty dresses, and then ate their same meal together via a computer propped up on their respective tables. It gave them something to talk about, to plan together, to look forward to.

So many stories of hope being given, of light being shared, of a really big world seeming smaller and more manageable being rooted in a single word…


It’s a beautiful word, no doubt. It’s a powerful word, too. For me… For you… And for Danielle in Piece by Piece.

Treasure those who have been that/are that in your life—whether you know them well, or not.

And be one. Always.

*           *           *

Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of more than 35 books and stories, including her latest release, Piece by Piece. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, was a July 2018 Book Club Pick for Delilah of Delilah Radio and a Summer Book Club pick for Southern Lady Magazine.  

​ Laura also pens several mystery series including; An Amish Mystery series, the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mysteries, the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey). She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. Laura enjoys baking, spending time with her family, and being an advocate for those living with multiple sclerosis.  Learn more at:

Danielle Parker is a gold-medal mom—the kind who volunteers in her children’s classrooms, shuttles them between activities, throws legendary birthday parties, and has a remedy on hand for any emergency. Whatever her husband, Jeff, and their children need, Dani is there, always.
Except for one day.

On that day—the day that Dani reluctantly takes some “me time” while her mom and Jeff drive the children to the park—the unthinkable happens. The car crash leaves no survivors. Somehow, Dani gets through the funerals and visits, accepting neighbors’ sympathy and dropped-off meals. All the while, guilt and grief make her wish the accident had claimed her life too. Then a call comes from Lydia Schlabach, an Amish woman Dani befriended in childhood. In addition to condolences, Lydia offers Dani something more: a place to escape to.

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Dani’s days take on a new rhythm, marked by the clip-clop of buggies and the bustle of chores. Lydia gives Dani space to mourn, to think, and to realize how long it’s been since she felt like a person in her own right. And with the help of friendships old and new, Dani learns about the ways life continues to surprise us—even after the deepest loss—with joy, love, and second chances. . . .