Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Gift of Friendship


The Neighbors
by John Geoge Brown
Rhonda, Fay, Kay, Martha and I have on a number of individual occasions, when we were much younger, joked about growing old together and sitting on the front porch with nothing to do but rock in our chairs and chat. This picture evokes such memories. I first saw this picture at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta when we went to visit Jimmy.

When these dear friends and family and I shared this hope I really did not picture myself as anything but my youthful self sitting on that porch...but then I look in the mirror and the truth is revealed. I may only feel 40 on the inside but on the outside greater "maturity" is revealed.

Why this talk of friendship? I don't think this is Best Friend week, but I could be wrong. I speak of friendship now for a couple of reasons. First, all the above friends no longer live close enough to sit on that front porch, though we do chat. Then, I reflected on what it has been like to have lost a dear friend to death, who you just knew would "live forever", and the void, unfilled yet, by her absence.

Then, last night, Fay and I had a chat. Pete has been very ill again and yesterday they found he has pneumonia. She and I would agree that this was a time when we needed to talk and again we would both agree that somehow I listened to the promptings of the Master to make that call.

On the other hand, I dropped the ball yesterday, when I realized, too late, that I had missed Martha's birthday. OOPs! And only the day before she had sent me a card telling me how thoughtful I am. OUCH! This too will be rectified.

Kay and I, with Allen and Ron along for the ride, will visit soon for a chat over dinner...That's when we do our BEST chatting.

And...then I read this reflection by Henri J. M. Nouwen.

Friends and Their Limitations
We need friends. Friends guide us, care for us, confront us in love, console us in times of pain. Although we speak of "making friends," friends cannot be made. Friends are free gifts from God. But God gives us the friends we need when we need them if we fully trust in God's love.
***
Friends cannot replace God. They have limitations and weaknesses like we have. Their love is never faultless, never complete. But in their limitations they can be sign-posts on our journey toward the unlimited and unconditional love of God. Let's enjoy the friends God has sent on our way."

So now I see that my "front porch" has been replaced by just making sure these special people continue to be a part of my life by simply connecting with them; connecting with those beautiful women with whom I share my faith life every Tuesday evening; bonding with my Bible Study groups and sharing the love of God; meeting or "chatting" with faraway friends whenever the need arises; making those family calls to chat whether online text messaging (which is a lot of fun) or by phone just to hear their voices; and most importantly making sure those "chats" with the Lord, whether in prayer or with your faith community, be on the TOP of our BEST FRIENDS list.

Finally, knowing and accepting that I am not the perfect friend I'd like to be is part of my journey. I forget to say thank you, put off calls I know I should make, and forget birthdays sometimes...but even with these flaws I know I am loved by God and those Dear Friends and Family he has sent to me.

Thanks Be To GOD!!

2 comments:

  1. Its ironic that you sent this at this time. I was just thinking recently about how much I will miss you and how much I appreciate you and don't say it. You have taught me more about nursing and loving others than any school ever could. You aided me in being a great nurse. You always offer an ear to listen, and advise me when life throws me a curve ball.
    Your life and faith are inspiring!
    I want you to know that you are loved and appreciated more than I could ever express
    Tricia

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  2. Cathy is the best example of a true friend I can imagine. You have always been with me, even when you forgot to call or send a card (has this ever actually happened?) ... and you even keep up with my daughters and grandchildren! I dream of becoming the friend to you that you are to me. I love you. Fay

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