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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Friends, Anyone?


I tell you what….dealing with the long term post-flood recovery and impact while juggling all the normal activities has just kept the schedule crazy!  Hence it’s been too long since the last blog…my apologies.  On the other hand, as of today another local resident’s home is now winterized with fresh repairs by a visiting ABMen flood relief team. 

Nevertheless, on to the blog….

Recently I had an email conversation with a friend who is dealing with a lot of different kinds of life changes, some of which are amazingly difficult…and is making those changes with patience, courage and perseverance.  In the course of the conversation, we discussed how sometimes in life we find friends who seem to really care about us, but then something will come along that makes plain that their commitment to the friendship isn’t at all what it appeared to be, but was very superficial at best.  In those moments, we are able to distinguish between people who appear to be our friends, and those who truly are the kind of loyal friends who will stand with you throughout all of life’s vicissitudes.  

Often, in a divorce, the couple and their friends go through some very difficult times of sorting.  Sometimes the friends will choose one partner or the other to keep as a friend.  Sometimes they will find ways to make space for each partner.  Sometimes they will avoid the whole issue and just walk away from the friendship.  But sometimes it goes the other way.  Sometimes it is the person going through divorce who abandons friends as they walk away from both spouse and other relationships.  And yet…friends are so important, critical supports we need in these times of extreme stress.  

I read in and old edition of Guideposts the other day the following story of Norman Vincent Peale’s, and thought it worth sharing. The story begins as he tells about a time when, as a young man, he met Henry Ford by chance, and asked him for advice about success in life.  Ford’s answer is:

“Who’s your best friend?  I’ll tell you who it is:  It’s the person who brings out the best in you.  Always associate with the best people—that is where you will find such a person.”

In the Guidepost article, Peale reflects on the encounter and says,

“And there is an opposite side to Henry Ford’s question, too.  It’s ‘Whose best friend are you?’  Try asking yourself that question from time to time.  Then when you answer it, make sure that you deserve that title by bringing out the best in that person every day, in every way.”

The old saying is, “the best way to find a friend is to be a friend.”  I like both Ford and Peale’s advice.  And for those who find themselves in a time of life in which life events are resulting in shifting friendships, I would add a few comments of my own.

First, be very careful about discarding friends. Sometimes it may appear that someone doesn’t care, when in fact they don’t know exactly what to say or do, or they may be otherwise preoccupied and not realize they are letting you down. Good friends in life are rare and precious treasures, do not discard friendships lightly.  

Secondly, when you find those friends who are the kind of friends Ford is talking about, friends who are loyal and supportive, friends whose influence makes you rise to the best of who you are, and friends who walk with you through even the darkest of days, when you find friends like that, treat them like the treasures they are and never let them go.  Friends like that only come our way now and then in life, and as a result, are worth hanging onto.  And the best way to hang on to those friends, is to be that kind of friend for them when theyare dealing with the rough times in their lives.

Thirdly, never forget, no matter what happens with the other friends in your life, Jesus calls his followers his friends, too, and his promise is to never fail us or forsake us!  He’s the best friend you will ever know…he knows you better than anyone else, he cares for you more than anyone else ever has, and his help, advice and counsel are perfect.  When you feel like your other friends have let you down or abandoned you, know that your best friend, Christ Jesus, never will.

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