Thank you for being a friend

I know that every time I write my personal thoughts down on paper for others to read I wind up dating myself. As I quickly approach the sixth decade of my life, I have decided that this is ok. I am getting older, and because of this, I am becoming wiser. With life wisdom comes the ability to not worry so much anymore about what people think of me or my writing. I write these thoughts down for me and if you happen to mine a nugget here and there good for you!

It seems that over the past couple of nights the last thing that I thought about before bed is the topic that I have chosen to write about the next day. Yesterday, I had a conversation with my wife about genuine friends. As I lay my head on the cool gel memory foam pillow last night, I was thinking about my life and my friends. This morning on my way to work I thought of a friend (that is very much like me) who just relocated from Ohio to West Memphis Arkansas. Then songs about friends began to flood my memory.

I was never a Golden Girls fan when it was on prime time television; I would occasionally watch with my wife because she enjoyed the show. What I liked most about the show was the theme song, Thank you for being a friend. I love songs about friends; a couple of classics comes to my mind You’ve got a friend by the original JT (James Taylor), and I cannot help but think about You’ve got a friend in me from the soundtrack of the animated movie “Toy Story.” I thought about my friends this morning. I thought about what kind of friend I am. I also started thinking about ways that I could be a better friend.

My dad once told me that I would be fortunate if I had five real friends in my lifetime. As I grow older and consider my life, I am beginning to realize how true his statement was. True friends are rare and should be cultivated and appreciated for the extraordinary attributes that they embody. Real friends are always there in the midst of your life and help you to navigate the shoals that sometimes jump up out of nowhere.

As of this morning, on Facebook, I have 2169 friends most of whom I know very informally. The majority of my Facebook friends are casual acquaintances at best. They have shared some amazing moments in my life, but moments in time are fleeting. Relocation and geography takes a toll on friendship and often make the practice of being a friend a difficult task. In thinking about this further, I realize that I have very few real friends.

I love my friends; they are people that I genuinely enjoy hanging out with, so let me attempt to put a list together that will hopefully help me as I concentrate on becoming a genuine friend!

Maybe this list can help you also!

1. Real Friends are approachable. No matter what may be going on in my life or theirs, it is easy to approach them knowing that they won’t judge or come to rash and quick conclusions. They are approachable because they have my interest at heart. As a friend, I have to be friendly and ready to give time and energy to whatever situation they may be experiencing.

2. Real Friends keep no track of time. Your closest friends could pick up the relationship where it left off no matter if it was a day or a year or a decade. They also do not rush the time that they spend together. It is a joy and pleasure to spend time with those you are closest to.. You find yourself wondering where the time that you spend with them goes. You cherish those moments that you spend together. As a friend, I have to make a concerted effort to keep in touch.

3. Real friends are reasonable. Relationships must have some give and take built in, or they will never work. Real friends find mechanisms to help them overlook your flaws and allow grace to keep the relationship open and honest. Value always trumps differing opinions. Real friends bring value to your life. As a friend, I have to learn to check my personal agenda better and recognize the value that those closest to me bring.

4. Real friends are available. Availability is a huge deal when you need someone in a time of crisis. Real friends are willing to adjust calendar or cartography when they are needed. As a friend, I have to adapt and be available quickly.

What would you add to the list?

I love you all!

Pastor J