Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life "In Response"

The long awaited week has come and, unfortunately, gone.  It was our week!  Our week of reconnecting, refocusing and renewing body, mind and spirit.  Walking together holding hands cut down on the number of purchases to be made.  Perhaps that was the plan - I'll never tell!  Just Bev and me in the semi-quaint town of Newport, Rhode Island for seven whole days.  

Walking among the shops, eating in the restaurants, and exchanging greetings with the shopkeepers and wait-staff, one thing became crystal clear.  You will have returned to you what you extend to them.  If we were reserved, then the response would be reserved.  If we were friendly in our banter, then that is what we got back.  If we were complimentary, then, well, you get the idea.

This philosophy of life in response with life seems to have been addressed a time or two already in the history of humankind.  One such occasion which comes to mind is referred to as the "Golden Rule".  You might remember it - "Do to others what you would have them do to you" and was spoken by Jesus Christ.

One has to wonder when this powerful life philosophy stopped being taught by teachers, passed down by parents, preached by pastors and practiced by just ordinary people.  If it were practiced on a daily basis, it could alleviate traffic congestion where drivers jockey for position by letting that driver in front of you (as if one car length makes any difference to arrival time).  The practice of the "Golden Rule" could fire up many marriages if a spouse stopped to think "would I want to be talked to like that?"  Think how any relationship, regardless of how intimate, could be made better, if we asked ourselves first, "Is that the way I would want to be treated?"  

Certainly, the "Golden Rule" could make a huge difference if lived out!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Value of a Friend

It has been said that "a dog is man's best friend".  Ordinarily, our dog Maggie would be somewhere toward the top of the list.  But tonight is not her night to be anywhere the list.  Easter candy proved to be to great a temptation for her.  She "OD" on Mike and Ike's and Milk Duds.  The "man's best friend" stuff came to a screeching halt with the discovery of the evening version of morning sickness.  You get the idea.  
What is the value of a friend? Is there a monetary amount that can be accessed for a friend? Hardly can one place a value on a friend.  In reality, the true value of a friend is only determined when they are no longer a part of one's life.

If a dollar value could be accumulated for each friend, then I, of all people, would be an extremely wealthy man.  I start my accumulation of wealth with my wife of twenty plus years.  Certainly a treasured gift of God to me!  (This is where most people would question what I did to end up in the doghouse and if I had any idea how long I would be there.)  Seriously, I did marry my best friend!

From there my "wealth of friendships" continue to grow.  Extended family members marked by quirkiness. School friends reacquainted and college chums reconnected through Facebook. Church members in the struggle together.  Business associates busy exercising their talents. Just to name a few!  Every person brings their own uniqueness.  Each individual forms a beautiful, vibrant mosaic of friendship which I enjoy.  Without a single one, my mosaic would be like a jig-saw puzzle with pieces missing.

Perhaps it is enough to just know that I am blessed by the people who have touched my life in great and small ways over the years.  Perhaps that is just a feel good statement to relieve my guilt for not telling people exactly how they have blessed me.  Unfortunately, it is much easier to live life at a pace not so conducive to let friends know how much they are valued.

Let us pick one friend this week to let them know how special they are to us.  I'll go first: "You are very special to me.  Thanks for sharing your beauty with me!" 

The true value of a friend is only determined when they are no longer a part of one's life.