Friday, April 25, 2014

Let's talk about friends....

I often take time to consider how blessed I am to have friends and it is typically, a good feeling. Over the years, I have learned that to have a friend, you must start by being a friend. But today, I am sad. I have a feeling that I have lost a friend even though I have tried to stay in touch. We moved apart a few years ago after working together in a situation where I wasn't sure of my skills, but she was there, helping all of us. Then the doctors discovered that she had cancer and had to leave us for awhile. I will never forget the day she stopped by to pick up some of our work that she could finish at home. This beautiful young woman I had known for months had been transformed into a very tired looking, "older" woman who had aged. It broke my heart as I thought I might never see her again. But then, she was back among us and she had almost fully recovered. I will never forget the day she heard from the doctors that the cancer was gone into remission. Oh happy day. Now, it was my turn. I had discovered the love of my life living in another city and I would have to leave that job and worse, I would miss her. I did not realize that then, but as time passed we stayed in touch and she was the one who encouraged it. I could not help but think of returning to the area where we had worked together and the possibility of seeing her again. My wife began to tease me about that "other" girl friend. Time moved on and recently my wife passed away. Reality came to bear and I discovered I needed to find another job and that required, references. The company we had worked for had changed their name and I could not locate them. No problem, my friend still worked there, so I sent an e-mail to her at the address we had used for years. There was no response. Come to think about it, she had not "picked up" the Easter card I recently sent to her via the Internet. With that I intensified my search for the company address and finally located it. I also discovered that my friend still worked there and I asked the Personnel Manager to have her call me. It has been two days and there has been no response. What has happened? There is no way I can force my way on the company, nor my friend if she has chosen to forget me. She has every right to do so. There is, however, a hole growing in my heart. I have lost track of friends over the years as I have moved around, more than most people. Now, at my age, many of the friends from years past have passed away. But there are some who care enough to stay in touch, which pleases me and prompts me to do the same. Nevertheless, there is that hole in my heart. And a valuable lesson being awakened in that vast storehouse I call my brain cells. Friends should be our most treasured assets. I had a good friend when I was a child, but he came from a pitiful home. His father was a drunk and there were two other older brothers. We lived close by, but we were never close I thought. Then, one day as I was watching TV in my home in Florida, I had this call from my old friend, asking me if I had remembered him. Yes, I had, but my memory still saw him as that "poor" boy who lived nearby on the farm. Soon, I would discover, he wound up as an electronics technician working for and had retired from a phone company in Missouri. How he had changed. He went on to share his memories of our childhood and how he had heard about me over the years. He would tell me that I was the only real friend he had experienced for many years. We talked for hours it seemed; several calls later, he would let me know that he had cancer and had come home to die on the "old" place. It was a real awakening for me. Early on, I accepted the old military axiom that "all debts and friendships ceased when you were transferred." That began to change. In the years that have passed I have also learned about "fair weather" friends, those that seem to be your friends when you are together, but they disappear when you are apart. That's OK, I have learned that quite possibly the reason you were together was so that so would have opportunities to pray for them after the relationship had ceased. It's all a part of "loving one another" which - to me, is our only reason for living.

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