By Clyde Davis
Many will get together with friends over the upcoming patriotic holiday. Your best friend should be the one you sleep next to every night, but how about all those other friends and the web of relationships that we don’t even think about?
A column on friendship could read like Jesus’ illustration on the “sheep” and the “goats.” When I was hungry, you fed me, when I was ill, you comforted me, etc. These are all examples, from both sides, that come to mind …
– When I was weak and recovering, you took me to Santa Fe to see the Painted Ponies. You adapted your pace to mine when we were on Canyon Road, and dropped me off at doors, because my energy was low.
– When I was stuck out of town, you went and got my stuff for me and took it to somewhere it would be safe. You arranged a way to get there and a place to keep it, and did not bother me with decisions that you could easily make on my behalf.
– When my spouse was in surgery, you came and sat with me. You shared the good news that all we had feared was nothing to worry about.
– When I was down, you patiently sat and listened to me cry and rage over a hope I had that somebody blocked, a dream that someone smashed. You let me rant and did not patronize me or try to problem solve for me. You were simply, wholly there.
– When I was weak, you told me stories to remind me that it was only temporary. You talked to me about fishing, and baseball, and digging trees, to remind me that I would be strong enough to do those things.
– When I was in need of a place to crash, you found one for me. When I opened the cupboard, you had stocked it with cans.
– When I came back from the scariest place of my life, you had decorated my house, trimmed my yard, and cleaned the inside. You made dinner for us.
– When you saw I was under too many pressures, you came along and removed some of them. You helped me regain focus.
– When my loved one died, you were there for me. You came to the service, or the home, or brought food to feed my relatives.
– When I wanted something really badly, you helped me work so I could get it. You did not think about your own time and energy.
– When I could not drive myself, you drove me to work so I could get my job done.
– When I could not leave my house, you brought the party to me so that I would not miss it. You rearranged everything so I could be a part of it.
– When my out-of-town relatives come to town, you treat them as if they were your own. You do not make them feel like guests, but part of the group.
Well, these are some of my examples, but what are yours? We never sit and tally or total these things, or at least I hope not.
On the same note, I have seen examples of what happens when people do not extend themselves to create friendships with others — not so good.
My hope is that this Fourth, if you have no list like mine and no friends, you begin to nurture some.
Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University.