Thursday, May 30, 2013

When is a Friend a Friend?

I used to have a lot of conversations about the nature of friends back when my younger (by 11 months) sister was still alive. She always seemed to expect the same thing from every friend she had. She felt hurt if her friends did not spend time with her.

For me, each friend is different. Some friends I would never dream of sitting through a movie in a theater with.
In the past, I've sat with folks who talked through the whole show and with others who ate loudly or who crumbled snack boxes noisily. But, one or two were grand to watch a show with.

I would never enjoy sitting down to a restaurant meal with others. Some are very picky about what they eat. Others complain through the entire meal. But there were one or two, through the years, that made eating out a pleasure.

Some, like my dear old friend, now gone, Jane, were excellent travel and shopping companions. We were on the same time-frame, energized and ran out of energy, at the same pace.

Today, however, I thought long and hard about friends who I have never spent real time with. I have some very dear friends who I've never met - beloved cyber friends. We have done for each other through the years. I've known a few of them since the late '80s, and others just a year or two.

I have a few other local friends who, like my cyber friends, have never shared a meal with me or a show or a trip or a walk. But we have been there for each other. Sometimes it's by phone (which I almost always try to avoid these past few years); other times, it's by email. Many of my neighbors in this 400+ senior mobile home park are dear, dear friends as well. We've never gone anywhere together. But we've helped one another, shared with each other.

Today, one of them gave me a quick call to say they were bringing me a few fresh cherry tomatoes from a family member's organic garden. What a treat that was. These were tomatoes with real taste and flavor. This may seem like such a small gesture to some of you. But to me, these are friends - dear, dear friends.

Friends, therefore, are not just folks you visit with, or who come and visit with you. Friends are those who care about us, and who we care about, as well. We do not need to spend time with each other. Sometimes we're not even in touch for weeks on end. But when push comes to shove, we are there for each other. It may be materially; it may be prayerfully; it may be in simply understanding!

Lord Jesus, thank you for all the wonderful friends in my life. Whether we are in touch often or seldom, their compassion and understanding are real. Bless them, please, with whatever they need in their lives at this moment because they have blessed my life with their love, for sure.

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