Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

friendsMy Facebook profile says that I have 353 friends. My LinkedIn profile claims 614 connections. I think we all know the number of true friends among those is barely double digits. I am thankful for many great relationships with colleagues past and present, with so many people from my years growing up in Winchester, Kentucky that I’m still in contact with, and with those other friends from churches and elsewhere gained along the way that are truly special people in my life.

There is a difference between being an acquaintance and being a friend. With acquaintances, you may go long periods of time without contact and be just fine with that. In fact, cold as it sounds, you can take or leave most acquaintances. You’re cordial when together and perhaps enjoy the company, but they really aren’t an ongoing part of your life, so if circumstances change and you never meet or cross paths again, it doesn’t really matter.

Friends, of course, are different. You think about friends and anticipate the next time you’ll be together. Friends build on histories together and have key events that get remembered, shared repeatedly, and woven into the fabric of their combined life story. Friends enjoy being together whether there is a lot of talk and chatter or whether there is mostly quiet. With friends, a good time isn’t defined by what happens as much as it is by who is present. Friends expect you to be yourself even with your oddities and shortcomings. Friends forgive you; they don’t hold grudges. Friends come to your aid of their own accord when you’re down or down on your luck. They give without any expectation of return. They comfort you, challenge you, defend you, encourage you. Friends make you laugh at life and at yourself. The thought of a good friend brings a smile to your face.

I count myself fortunate to have friends that go back to high school days. I may not see them in person very often, but Facebook has been an avenue of keeping those relationships alive. I’m thankful for friends I’ve had since college – relationships formed in that critical period of life that have withstood the test of time. I’m thankful for dear friends I’ve gained through churches where I’ve served on the ministerial staff or been a member. I’m thankful for the added bonus of some work relationships turning into friendships that outlive working together at a company. I’m thankful for those special, closest friends where conversations just seem to pick up wherever we left off regardless of how much time has separated our being together.

We don’t need a lot of friends in our lives, but we do need some. I am thankful for all the special people in my life that I call friend.

Thank you, God, for my friends.

Friends Take Care Of YouMy wife came home last Friday after more than two weeks of being in the hospital and rehab following knee-replacement surgery.  It so happened that I had to be heading out of town at the very hour she was checking out of rehab because I was scheduled to officiate at an out-of-town wedding for the weekend and the wedding rehearsal was just a few hours away.

Enter some wonderful friends.

First was our local friend, Darlene, who met Linda at rehab and brought Linda with all her belongings home and then stayed with her until Saturday, running errands, helping around the house, taking care of the dog and assisting Linda with tasks she is not able yet to do herself.  Linda was not (and is not) ready to be without assistance for a long period of time, and with me out of town, Darlene was a god-send those first 24 hours home.  Thank you, Darlene.

Then on Saturday, two of Linda’s lifelong friends from St. Louis drove to Louisville to spend Saturday until Tuesday with her.  Even though I was back from the wedding trip by mid-Sunday afternoon, Patty and Pam stayed until Tuesday cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, helping with physical therapy, dog-sitting, doing laundry, and laughing about past and present things that only friends with a long history can do.  Being able to spend that amount of time together was extremely rare for the three of them and a real help for Linda in every way – physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Thank you, Patty and Pam, even though you didn’t take me up on my offer of paying you $1000 each to make everything in the over-stuffed freezers and refrigerator disappear.  (I fixed the sink you broke, by the way.  The bill is in the mail.)

We live in a busy, busy world with long to-do lists that are a challenge to complete even without interruptions.  How many of us are willing to take a major chunk out of time we could devote to our own to-do lists to be the kind of friend that Darlene, Patty and Pam have been to us in recent days, as well as several others who have brought or are scheduled to bring meals?  It’s a reminder to me that if I want to have friends like that, I need to be a friend like that.

I guess the title of this post is a misnomer because you can’t measure real friendship.  But you sure know it when you see it.