Friendship… A Valued Gift…

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

Spoken by American author Helen Keller, who was sticken by an illness as a young child which left her both blind and deaf, this quote well reflects my ponderings over the past few weeks about friendships.

I have enjoyed many friendships over my life journey, but I have been blessed by the close friendships of several.  Both are enjoyable, both make life a little brighter, but those close friendships are the ones I believe are vital to our happiness and contentment.

This past month I lost a good friend to cancer.  She had wandered out of my life for a period, but in a time years ago she had been very close – in fact our families shared a home together.  She taught me about many things… cooking, gardening, child-rearing, but mostly she taught me about life values – laughter, listening, loving.  Perhaps I was too naive in my own life journey to recognize the value of this friendship at the time, but as is the case with good friendships, when we reconnected it was as if nothing had changed, and her death touched me deeply.  At the same time, a very, very close friend has faced a most difficult challenge… her husband’s acute illness and surgery… and the tenous nature of life has given me reason to reflect yet again on how important friendships are.

So, friendships… I’ve used words above such as vital, blessed, important, close… why?  Why are friendships so important to me? To you? To health? To life satisfaction?

I’ve also been pondering the question… am I a good friend?  Fred Rogers said, “One of life’s greatest joys is the comfortable give and take of a good friendship. It’s a wonderful feeling not only to have a friend, but to know how to be a friend yourself.”  Some of the lessons I’ve learned about being a friend include…

Value the gift of a friend and nurture those friendships. Laugh together. Cry together. Pray together. ‘Break bread’ together. Share private thoughts. Honor the confidentiality of private thoughts shared.  Trust and be trustworthy. Compromise. Be willing to simply be there. Rise quickly above and beyond disagreements. Be comfortable in the silence. Listen. Listen. Listen.  

Perhaps you’ve heard this song by Bruno Mars… “Count of Me”.  Lots of life lessons here… I hope you enjoy…

If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea, I’ll sail the world to find you.

If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can’t see, I’ll be the light to guide you.

We find out what we’re made of
When we are called to help our friends in need.

You can count on me like 1, 2, 3… I’ll be there.
And I know when I need it I can count on you like 4, 3, 2.
You’ll be there… ’cause that’s what friends are supposed to do.

If you’re tossin’ and you’re turnin’ and you just can’t fall asleep,
I’ll sing a song beside you.
And if you ever forget how much you really mean to me,
Every day I will remind you.

You’ll always have my shoulder when you cry.
I’ll never let go, never say goodbye,
You know…You can count on me like 1, 2, 3 – I’ll be there.
And I know when I need it I can count on you like 4, 3, 2, and you’ll be there.
‘Cause that’s what friends are supposed to do

You can count on me ’cause I can count on you.

So… friendship… what an amazing and precious gift!  To my friend who just ended her life journey, know that a hole has been left in my heart.  To my close friends today… know how much you are valued.  I’ll leave with you with a quote (or two) from one of my favorites – Winnie the Pooh (the older I get, the more I value the worth of words written for children)…

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, “What about lunch?””

“A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.”

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