Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's A Joy To Have Friends

                                        Published by Charleston Gazette -
                              Sunday, July 11, 2010~

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from two friends that I haven’t seen or talked to for many years.  How nice it was to reconnect with them after such a long time!

I enjoyed a lengthy phone conversation with each of them. Having experienced similar changes over the years, we had a lot of catching up to do. Besides growing older ourselves, our children have grown up, married and blessed us with grandchildren – some of whom are now adults. Admitting our advanced ages, we compared ailments, meds, healthy diets, and physical fitness programs – finally agreeing that retirement is the best thing about getting older. And sadly, each of my friends related how devastating it had been losing her husband to an untimely death. 

After hanging up from the most recent chat, I sat thinking of the good times the two of us had shared years ago, the secrets we’d tucked away, and especially, the way we’d laughed. Every time we were together, we found something that made us giggle like school girls. Our friendship was like that – fun!

There were sad times, too – the occasional problem with one of our children, family illness, the death of a loved one – all of the things that are difficult to face any time, but doubly so without a friend by your side.  Thankfully, true friendship withstands both good and bad times.
So why do we lose touch?  When we like some people so much, why do we let years slip by with no contact?

As I pondered this, I thought about something I read a few years ago, written by a young lady from the UK named Jessica Smith.  It made a lasting impact on me. Some excerpts follow: 

Life is like a train ride.
We get on. We ride. We get off. We get back on and ride some more. When we are born and we first board the train, we meet people whom we think will be with us for the entire journey. Those people are our parents!
Sadly, this is far from the truth.
Our parents are with us for only as long as we absolutely need them. They too have journeys they must complete. We live on with the memories of their love, and guidance... their ever presence.
There are others who board the train who eventually become very important to us.  These people are our brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances, whom we will learn to love, and cherish.
Some people on the train will leave an everlasting impression when they get off.  Others will get on and get off the train so quickly, they will scarcely leave a sign that they ever traveled with you.
Remember, at any moment during our journey, any one of our travel companions can have a weak moment and be in need of our help.  We, too, may need someone we can count on to be supportive and understanding.
The biggest mystery of our journey is that we don’t know when our last stop will come. Neither do we know when our travel companions will make their last stop. Not even those sitting in the seat next to us.
We’re all on this train ride together. Above all, we should strive to make the ride as pleasant and memorable as we can, right up until we each make the final stop and leave the train for the last time.
The old friends that recently came back into my life are only a small sample of those that have traveled on the train with me, but these two, in particular, left an everlasting impression when they got off.  I’m glad they got back on – and delighted that they've been a part of my train ride!

This story also appears in my book, Somewhere in Heaven My Mother is Smiling~

1 comment:

  1. Yes it is nice to have friends. Sometimes we lose one through no fault of our own and that hurts. If we're lucky, they come back someday like yours did.