I just sent out some “Thinking of You” cards to a few people I know who are facing some difficulties. As I was writing, it struck me how important friendships are in our world. Without people with which we can interact and share what is going on in our lives, we would lack enjoyment and satisfaction. A friend can provide support and encouragement, or just an ear to listen. With a friend, we can laugh or cry, but the important thing about having a friend is that friendship brings us happiness and contentment. We need our friends.
What do you do when you come home from a vacation, or have a new baby come into your family, or when you have some event in your life that is either a celebration or a tragedy? You share these thoughts with your friends. A friend wants to know what is happening in your life. A friend wants to share in your celebrations and also in your sadness and grief.
It is true that to have a friend is also to be a friend. Throughout our lives we interact with people who begin as acquaintances. Sometimes a person continues to be just that, a familiar stranger. When we make a serious connection, this is when a relationship happens, and a friendship occurs. Irene Dunn said, “One does not make friends. One recognizes them.”
A friend wants to know what is in your heart, and that friend will be a support for you when times are good and when times are challenging. According to Helen Keller, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” This is what a friendship does.
I believe that God places friends in our lives. He is always present, watching over us, but it is usually through another person that He allows us to recognize His presence. It is through that friend that we may feel the blessings that God intends for us to experience.
I have had many friends over the course of my lifetime, and I have lost contact with quite a few of them. Some of them have passed away, but are not gone from my memory. Whether I have lost track of people, or they remain close, each friend has left a permanent handprint upon my heart. From time to time, I will remember something a friend said or did that will make me smile, even laugh, as I recall our time together. I would like to share one memory with you today.
This was many years ago, and I was living in Haiti. There was man from Oklahoma who was a missionary there. His name was Bob, and we became good friends. One time I was in the states visiting my family, and had to drive from Orlando to Miami alone. Bob was also in the states visiting his family, getting ready to return to Haiti. He offered to ride with me down through Florida. It was nice to have someone with me that day.
We stopped in Lake Wales and decided to see an attraction called “The Great Masterpiece,” which was a mosaic of Leonardo DaVinci’s “Last Supper.” Bob and I walked around the grounds enjoying the beautiful trees and flowers. Bob suddenly saw what he thought was a beautiful rock. It looked like a blue and pink piece of marble. He called me over to look, very excited at what he had found. Just as he touched it, I told him it looked like a piece of bubble gum.
As he looked at his sticky finger. I laughed until I cried. In my memory, I can still see him looking at the finger that had touched the wad of ABC gum. (Already Been Chewed)
If you do not have a friend that makes you laugh, get one. They provide lasting memories.
— My love to all,
• • •
“May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.”
— Genesis 31:49