One of the biggest blessings in this life is friendship. Time with a good friend is like free therapy – it lifts your spirits quicker than chocolate! One of my mom’s best friends, Sue Groves, went to heaven this week. Sue had suffered a terrible stroke over five years ago and had been in a nursing home, bedridden, for the last five years. Her husband Dave visited her every day – all day – for FIVE YEARS. This is the picture of love in action, of commitment in “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.” Sue’s body had quit on her, but she had the most active brain, right until the end. She read the local newspaper cover to cover, and probably other newspapers as well. If you forgot something, she could remind you of it – it was amazing! My mom would spend as much time at the nursing home with her as she could, and they could just talk and visit all day. A friendship that began in 1958 and continued until 2016. What a blessing!
When I was growing up, my parents were good friends with three other couples – the men all worked at the plant, and the women spent a lot of time together with all the kids. We went on vacations together, helped each other do chores, went to the same church, lived within a mile of each other. It was an idyllic childhood, really, not fraught with the dangers children live with now. When at the funeral home this week, all of us now 50-some-year-old children got to reminisce and catch up with each other. We ALL remembered being at the beach together on the roller coaster when one of the women’s closely-guarded secret of a wig flew off and was about to fly into the ocean when one of the men jumped up out of his seat and caught it in the air. I’m sure we had many other adventures together, but the “wig catch” stood the test of time. It was so good to see these childhood friends, and I was ashamed I’d let years go by without reaching out to reconnect with them.
As I have been teaching about the ten commandments, my young adults and I had a long discussion about coveting. It was funny – the boys seemed to have more of a problem with the “I want what he has” than the girls – because one of them has a “sweet” truck that everyone would want…
When I think about coveting, it’s not things that come to my mind. I have never had a real attachment to anything physical – my first home was a trailer, and I could go back to that in an instant if I needed to. Really makes no difference to me where I live. But one thing I have had trouble with over the years is coveting other people’s relationships – you know, that best friendship that has been alive since childhood, that marriage that appears absolutely perfect, the family dynamic that seems to have nothing but joy and peace and no upsets like some families have.
Last weekend, a friend and I went to a court reporter seminar in Martinsburg. We had been business partners for years and remained friends, and she sold me her court reporting firm and now works for me. We see each other and visit when we can, but our trip to Martinsburg was SO MUCH fun! We talked nonstop for the 11 hours in the car up and back, laughed and shared stories, enjoyed each other’s company so much. I thought to myself that it is MY fault that I don’t have more time for friends, don’t make the effort to reach out to those old friends that I know I could pick up just like we’d never left off. I get so busy that I just don’t make time for that so, so important component of our lives. Shame on me!
My sister Kim who lost her husband last year is constantly telling me and others, “Go home and hug your husband! Even though it may not feel perfect, you aren’t alone.” I’d encourage you today to reach out and rekindle that friendship you’ve let lapse, hug that husband you’ve been giving the silent treatment. Put down the petty arguments over politics or faith, and realize that even though we’re not just like each other, God has given us each other to love, and it’s not that hard. And for me, I’m going to be taking out more time to spend with friends…..they won’t always be here…..
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.