There has probably been as much written about friends and friendship as any other topic. Friendship has never been more evident to me than during this journey. I can’t begin to express thanks for all those cards, phone calls, emails, and texts filled with good thoughts and prayers. At the recent funeral of a beloved priest, the church was bursting at the seams. The number of those paying their respects at the funerals of two well-known, well-liked corporate executives, on the other hand, was quite small. In a recent book, Jim Denison asks the question, “Are You Building a Resume or Writing a Eulogy?” I hope you have given at least equal time to your eulogy.
For more than forty years I have been a member and then the Executive Director of a Physical Education fraternal organization whose motto is, “Friendship Hath Power.” I’d like to borrow from the fraternity’s section on friendship. Friendship is defined by Aristotle as “one mind in two bodies.” Think about your best friend or friends and how much you think alike, respond in similar ways and generally have an almost spiritual trust in one another. Don’t put off that next phone call, email or text to your best friend. If it is been awhile and you’re not sure exactly what you’ll say, take some inspiration from Edgar Guest’s poem written at Christmas time.
A FRIEND’S GREETING
I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me;
I’d like to be the help that you’ve been always glad to be;
I’d like to mean as much to you each minute of the day
As you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way.
I’d like to do the big things and the splendid things for you,
To brush the gray from out your skies and leave them only blue,
I’d like to say the kindly things that I so oft have heard,
And feel that I could rouse your soul the way that mine you’ve stirred.
I’d like to give you back the joy that you have given me,
Yet that were wishing you a need I hope you will never be;
I’d like to make you feel as rich as I, who travel on
Undaunted in the darkest hours with you to lean upon.
I’m wishing at this Christmas time that I could but repay
A portion of the gladness that you’ve strewn along my way;
And could I have one wish this year, this only would it be;
I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me.
It has been said that we make our friends, not by calling them friends, but by being a friend. The greatest loss would not be the breaking of friendship ties, but the failure to make these friendships. Jesus never said a more gracious word to His disciples than, “Ye are my friends.” He bound them to Him and He bound Himself to them in ties of unselfish devotion.
UPDATE – This is a short blog because I was released Wednesday from my third hospital stay in the last four weeks (12 days total). I am on oral antibiotics and will restart the chemotherapy on Wednesday with the hope that we can complete one full cycle of three treatments. I may be my own worst enemy because I fell today at the hospital. I got my feet tangled in the straps of my backpack and bounced off the door frame and slid to the floor. My upper arm took the brunt of the collision and I elbowed myself in the ribs. I did not hit my head. It might have knocked some sense into me. Whoa, way too late for that.