Chocolate-Covered Lifesavers Everything I ever needed to know about friendship, I learned fromI Love Lucy. - Madelyn Pugh Davis If you can't eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can't eat all your chocolate, what's wrong with you? - Author Unknown Our laughter echoed across the mountain as we hopped off the ski lift and turned toward Paradise Bowl. Shadows danced across the packed snow. At the end of the trail my husband, George, tucked and disappeared, and I followed. Suddenly it happened: the inside corner of my left ski caught a bump in a glistening patch of ice. Secret fears, long hidden since my first ski lesson years ago, rose in my throat. I gulped and pushed forward, pointing my toes inwardresorting to the awkward stance of the beginner. Then I hit ice again. This time I lost my balance and was thrown headlong into the snow. When I finally rolled to a stop, the pretzel-like twist to my leg confirmed the truth: it was broken. Someone saw me and began to shout, "Help!" Ski instructors and strangers came running. This put into motion a blur of events. Other skiers retrieved my lost poles and skis, and George hiked up the mountain to assist the ski patrol. As they placed me into the rescue basket, every move sent sharp pain screaming through my body. I was afraid to breathe. All the way down the mountain I prayedfirst not to hit a bump, and then to thank God for the rescue. By the time we returned to Texas, my leg was wrapped hip to toe in a gigantic cast. And that's when my real lifesavers sprang into action. My girlfriend Kay organized meal deliveries by MOPS members and church friends. My mom came every morning to help with household chores. My daughter Cherry stopped by every day at lunchtime, bringing her special brand of joy and fun. My friend Sue came in the afternoons to pray. After several housebound weeks, my friends Becky and Carol loaded me in a van and took me to a seminar. Handling my wheelchair couldn't have been easy, but their kindness rescued me. To top off the blessings, many girlfriends dropped by to deliver chocolate bars, chocolate cookies, and chocolate brownies. It seemed that all of these women, whether I knew them well or had met them only recently, understood the pleasure that chocolate brings to a girl in need. Chocolate.How sweet it is. As Elaine Sherman once said, "Chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and behavior by making you happy. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally. So, eat lots of chocolate."1 In other words, chocolate makes a girl smile. Lifesavers Yes, I had lifesavers on that mountainassured, strong, caring professionals who knew just what to do. But what I needed even more were great girlfriends who brought chocolate and spiritual friendship. Just as it was essential that I be helped down that mountain, so it is vital that we draw support and comfort from other women. We cannot rescue ourselves. We need lifesavers to cling to when we are hurting or about to drown in despair. Lifesavers to pull us to safety when there seems to be no hope. Women who will offer not only advice and assistance, but who will also cover us with love, forgiveness, and friendshiplike a shortbread cookie covered in rich, dark, melted chocolate. While the popular culture touted on television and in magazines urges that we follow our "inner guide" in difficult situations, we know deep down it doesn't work that way. When we live frantic busy lives or stretch ourselves too thin financially or grow weary from healthPorter, Karen is the author of 'I'll Bring the Chocolate A Girlfriend's Guide to Helping Each Other Through Life', published 2007 under ISBN 9781590529577 and ISBN 159052957X.