Yesterday this quote arrived in an email from a friend I first met in my home church in New York over 50 years ago. The quote then took flight as I GPSed my way to an 1880 farmhouse on Buffalo Run Road in Friendsville and received a free concert black skirt. Before I left, I also received two squash and a pumpkin, complete with directions for cooking/baking each. Next, a phone call came from three couples, friends from the Annapolis area who “happened” to be driving through Accident (Who drives accidentally through Accident?). They asked, “Could we have lunch together”? Any other day, yes, of course, but we already had lunch plans with friends whom we’ve known since our 1980s Bible study. The Drakes timed their trip home to Shreeve, Ohio such that we could enjoy a three-hour lunch together. Relaxing at home later that evening, I received a prayer chain phone call from our pastor’s wife reminding me to pray for a new friend having surgery today.
In 41 years of marriage we have lived in nine different apartments/houses and moved, if memory serves me right, 14 times. I can testify to the truth of James’ quote. Friends have made our world, whether they moved our furniture, babysat for our boys, helped Dave put on a roof, or took care of me after surgery. Faces, as well as stories, fill my mind when I think through the people God has sprinkled throughout our lives. Finally, I drifted off to sleep next to the one who has proven his love and friendship to me since the 1960s. I taught American literature for years and smiled about this remembered quote: “To have a good friend is one of the greatest delights of life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.