I recently read a quote about the joy of close friends, and it made me think about mine, both past and present.
In high school, I had several close girlfriends. We knew each other well, went to social events together, and shared our dreams. After high school, some of those friends went off to college, others married and had children, and some did both. I moved out of town, and we drifted apart.
Later, I had a good friend when I was training in the military. Eventually, we both married men in the military and stayed in touch until that couple moved away on assignment, and that was the end of that relationship.
However, another couple my husband and I loved and enjoyed while in the military never let us go. They kept in touch with cards, letters and phone calls. It has been a long time, and although we’ve only seen each other once in 40 years, we know all about their lives and those of their children and grandchildren.
Some friends just stick, don’t they?
My long-time friend from Tucson visited a few years ago. We hadn’t seen her for 15 years, and yet, it was as if we were never apart. We talked for hours and had such a good time that I was sorry when it was time for her to leave.
Last week, I met up with a friend who started as a coworker 25 or so years ago. We get together every three to four years and laugh, catch up and have a good time together. From the time I’ve known her, she has successfully raised her then baby boy all the way through medical school.
She returned to college, earning her master’s degree and now working full time. She’s been busy. We don’t connect often, but it is such a pleasure when we do.
I love having friends like that, the kind you can sit down and start chatting with, as if you saw them the previous day and are catching up on the details of what happened since. It is that warm, wonderful feeling of being loved, loving back and of having kindred hearts.
When I thought of the friends that have stayed in touch, I realized the one thing we have in common is our faith that Jesus is our Lord. We often have vastly different political and social views, but Jesus is the glue that holds us fast. What an amazing blessing.
As I was considering this, my Verse of the Day calendar popped up Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” The meaning wasn’t immediately clear to me, so I looked up the verse in several commentaries on Bible Hub and found a few explanations.
Most agreed the verse means if a friend sticks with you through adversity, he is like a brother born into your family, because there are a lot of things we do for family that we might not do for anyone else.
My younger sister helped take care of my father in his last years. She did not have children, and being fourth in the line of five, she had not been obligated to care for or change babies. Yet, in our father’s last years, she helped him with dressing, shaving and even dealing with adult diapers. What a gem. Believe me, Dad knew it was good to have blood family in times of adversity.
Last week, I was speaking with my cousin, who is trying to help his wife as her sister deals with a cancer diagnosis. They have moved into the sister’s home to help care for her. The sister is a hoarder.
Many of us have seen or read about hoarders, but thankfully, few of us must clean up after them.
My cousin tells me the dumpster could not hold what they needed to clean out of her condo so that they could move in to help her. The entire kitchen counter was loaded with empty coffee pods – hundreds and hundreds of them. Bottles of every type were lined up in paths along the floors and every piece of furniture was covered with stuff – old food wrappers, magazines, and numerous empty pill bottles, to name a few. Every houseplant was dead.
The kitchen table had clean chair and a spot cleared to sit and eat, and the only other chair in the house not filled to capacity with debris was the sister’s easy chair in the living room. It is a good sister (and brother-in-law) that will clean that up for you – again. They have done this several times for her in the past. That’s blood family.
During this past year while we have been purposely isolating, I wonder if we have let our friends and family get away from us. I pray not. If so, let’s make amends and be in touch with those that need us to love them, to care for them, and also to allow them to do the same for us. That is the way it was meant to be.
Remember Proverbs, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Let us be that friend, brother, sister, aunt or uncle who “loves at all times,” even if we must step out of our comfort zone, as my sister did, to accomplish it.
In the Bible, God asks us to do this so many times, but I am sure the most familiar is “love thy neighbor.” Let’s love that neighbor, whether family, friend or stranger. I know I am much more blessed when I give than receive because giving love is the essence of our Creator, God, and that is how He created us to be.
I pray we all find great joy this week in reaching out and blessing someone.
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City.