"He ain't heavy, he's my brother (or sister)..."
Song by The Hollies from yesteryear
Yesterday my wife and I went to the high school graduation of an old friend. This is a man I worked with three companies ago, and we still keep in contact. He has a wonderful family, a loving wife and four beautiful daughters. The bonus of going over there was to see and talk to a couple of engineers I worked with at that company. These men I have not seen nor talked to for over 15 years.
After we got back home and were relaxing before dinner, I was replaying the day in my mind. It was so good to see some people I worked with, I traveled with during a different time in my life. It made me realize how short, how precious our time is. How important our relationships are, even if they are work related.
Since I have retired, I have had the blessing of making some new friends, very special friends. To me, true friendships and relationships have a value higher than gold. They are lasting and cannot be traded or sold. My Mother used to sing a lyric while cleaning the house - "Make new friends, but keep the old. For one is silver and the other is gold". I did not understand why she sang that so many times. Now I do. It is not just a lyric, it is a credo.
Through my faith, I have also learned the importance of being a friend to those known and unknown. Those who may be in need. Of being kind, lending a hand, or maybe just saying a kind word. Being a friend and being friendly are sometimes the same, and sometimes not. Our pastor has said to be a real friend takes work. To build an enduring friendship takes investment into the other person's life. To have too many close friends can take time away from your family. Away from your faith.
Knowing that, I cherish my friends. I have a few very close friends, and many whom I consider very good friends. As each day brings new blessings, it also brings new opportunities to meet new people. To recognize the good in people, to know their stories. As I age, I realize how terribly short life really is. How life can turn on a dime. How relational opportunities can be squandered or ignored.
Each day I am thankful for the friends that God has put in my life. They have been put in my life, and I in theirs, for a reason. As my wife frequently says, "We don't know where our influence in a friendship may lead". I agree - we don't. But God, who plans a thousand chess moves ahead, does indeed.