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The divine blessing of friendship

Several columns ago, I wrote a story regarding the “Healing Power of a Homemade Pie.”   This little story about pie seemed to travel from coast to coast, and when it did, it blessed me with new friends.

The original idea for the story came from a cartoon in the Atlanta Journal’s Sunday comics section.  “Stone Soup” by Jan Eliot was one of my favorite strips because her stories always centered around family and their lives’ funny situations, which often paralleled mine.

After the story went national, I wrote Ms. Eliot to think her for the inspiration.   She lives in Oregon, and before long, we began emailing one another and realized how we did indeed have similar lives.  From one coast to another, sight unseen, voices unheard, a friendship blossomed.

Friendship is priceless.  It has nothing to do with anything but the heart.   Heck, you do not even need to see a person if you are connected by the thread of kindness, commonality, concern, and prayer.

By the time we are a little older than a toddler, we realize quickly that friends are a necessary component of living.  I recall several friends in first grade.  Even though I moved to another town by third grade, I occasionally think about them.  They are never further away than a memory.

Friendships heal and support us every day.   What would we do without the gift of a friend?  What would we do without that shoulder to cry on or that honest advice we might need? 

To this day, I still have close friends from high school.  And, trust me, an abundance of days have passed since high school!  One of my dearest friends can call or text me, and even though I have not seen them in a while, I know by the sound of their voice if they are ok or not.  It is that connection that if you take care of it, it will never break.

I believe friends are divinely placed on our life paths.  It is as if God pulls out his big map, places cars on the same road as ours so that we can bump into one another.   How many people have you met in your life that you felt were placed in your world?  I bet a bundle.

When my husband and I married, we moved into a house on a corner.  One day I noticed the woman who lived behind us watering her plants in the front yard.  I had met her but knew little about Deborah. 

My husband teases me often about my choice of words and phrases.  They are so southern he sometimes does not understand what I mean.  He noticed me talking to Deborah and walked over to join the conversation. 

After a few minutes, David asked, “Deborah, what do you call that thing you are watering your plants with?”  Of course, he knew it to be a hose, but she answered with certainty, “Well, it’s a hosepipe!”

David then questioned, “Deborah, what do you call the leather thing in my back pocket that holds the money?”  “Well, that’s a billfold!”

“See, she is absolutely correct!  Hose are something you wear on your legs, and you fold a bill to get it in that thing you call a wallet!” I quickly chimed in with a “see there” attitude.

After that, these two southern girls have been as sisters for fifteen years.   God plopped me down on the corner next to the angel who has saved me more times than I can count.  Plus, I did not even need to get in the car!

During this time of uncertainty and loneliness, it is the loss of hugs and the inability to see our friends that causes heartache.  Friendship is needed now more than ever.  Forget our differences in politics, or viewpoints, because friends are far more essential and divine.

I wrote at the beginning of a chapter in my book this little opening:

“Friends are bonus gifts from God.  Whether you know a friend for a day, for a few years, or for a lifetime, they are all blessings.   

When rain falls in our lives, our pals try to find the sun.  When an embrace, or an ear, or a pat on the back is needed, they provide.

Friends are the angels who give us wings to fly, laughter to fill our hearts, and comfort to warm our souls.

They are the colorful ribbons of love. “

Call a friend today, or bake them a pie, and find yourself blessed.