THE BEST OF FRIENDS
The Jones girls and I have been friends for seventy-five years, a quarter of a century. Think about it! I received calls from both of them this past week—one from Oklahoma City and the other from Salinas, California. Those calls started me thinking about friendship and what a true friend really is.
I remembered a song from the show, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” It says:
“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental,
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend…
Men grow cold, as girls grow old,
And we all lose our charm in the end.
But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don’t lose their shape.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
I have never owned a lot of diamonds, but I suppose if I had an endless supply, I could purchase the things needed for a comfortable life. Alas, not even the “Hope Diamond” can buy acceptance, warmth, companionship, and love—those qualities indispensable to true friendship.
Dogs are often referred to as “Man’s best friend.” My brother inherited his dog from his granddaughter. Lani grew up, got married, and left Snuggles behind. I never believed my brother would become so engaged with a dog, but when he lost both his wife and daughter within a year of each other, he was terribly alone except for Snug. This “gentleman pup,” as my brother calls him, was there. He was there to listen, to offer a warm paw, and a companionship unlike any other. He was something to love and care for, and a perfect sleeping buddy. This sweet little creature, with an indomitable spirit, exuded a sense of warmth, loyalty, and kindness, regardless of my brother’s demeanor. The reason we call dogs “man’s best friend” is simple. Dogs allow us to be their best friend, and yet, that is not enough. There is still something missing.
Only another human being can fit perfectly into that space existing in every person—that space labeled “best friend.”
I thought of the Jones Girls when I read this quote from C.S. Lewis. He said:
“For a Christian, there are no chances. A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
So meeting Patsy Ruth was not by chance. God must have been involved when she showed up in my third-grade classroom so many years ago. Her middle name was Ruth and my middle name was Ruth. Don’t you know that was enough for two little girls to decide, “Our friendship was meant to be?”
Throughout our elementary years Pat and her older sister, Wanda, came and went. I had no idea the Jones family were itinerated farm workers. They followed the harvest from Texas to Arizona, to California and back again. I didn’t know why they were gone, but when they came back, we came together again as though they were never absent.
I spent a lot of time with the Jones family. Buck and Inez were like second parents. When we were in high school, the family finally settled in Salinas, California. Though we never lived close again, we did not lose each other. The girls and I boarded Grey Hound buses and visited back and forth. We went to college together. I sang at their weddings and loved on their babies. We grieved at our losses and celebrated our victories. These days, we don’t get around as much as we used to, but we still keep in touch by phone, and I plan to live next door to them in heaven.
Friends come in all shapes and sizes. A true friend really gets you. They like you flaws and all. They fight for you, respect you, include you, encourage you, need you, deserve you, and stand by you.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. …if one falls the other helps…Two in bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst…”
The Jones girls walked into my life and said, “We’re here for you and proved it
So take your pick—diamonds, dogs, or someone like the Jones Girls, and if none of these work for you, Proverbs 18:24 assures us,
“… there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
That friend is Jesus. Best friends sometimes fail, but He will never fail you.
When we come to the end of ourselves, God has just begun. The song writer put it this way.
“His love has no limit. His grace has no measure.
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He gives and gives and gives again.”
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS!
REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!