A friend is someone who is always there when you need them. A friend is a person you can have fun with and be with in any situation. A good neighbor is someone you can visit with, assist when they need help and you can depend on them when you need assistance. In today’s world, friends and neighbors are more important than ever. Our culture is changing and there are many neighborhoods where you do not even know who your neighbors are.
I have such good memories of my Camden Avenue neighborhood. During the summer months there was a porch sitting every evening. Whoever was sitting out on their porch could be pretty sure that their porch would be full before dark. We just shared stories, listened to our neighbors’ concerns and sometimes had ice cream or some kind of snack we shared. We usually shared glasses of iced tea or cups of coffee available to all those who visited. These neighbors were good friends and you knew they would be there for you at any time you needed them.
I have been reminded of what a friend is and who makes a good neighbor when I think of Jerry Koon who recently died. Like many, I have known and worked with Jerry for many years, and I know what a kind, generous person he was. I do not ever remember meeting Jerry without a smile on his face and him asking how I was getting along. He never forgot the folks he had gotten to know over the years by working with EMS, various organizations and just those folks who were his neighbors.
I ran into Jerry at Kroger the day before he left. He smiled when he saw me, gave me a hug and asked how I was doing. I told him how good he looked. We talked about 10 minutes and Jerry even told me a few jokes. He talked about his mother and then we told each other how nice it had been to share this time together. Jerry was in such a good mood and I feel so blessed to have been in the same location as he to visit for a little while. I am sure there were other folks that had the same blessing that day because Jerry would stop and talk with those he knew and probably those he just met at the store. That was Jerry. He loved people and helped wherever he could and whenever he could. Jerry was a good friend and neighbor and we will miss his smile and his generous attitude with everyone he met. Jerry knew the true meaning of a friend.
Most everyone has had a few friends who have been there since childhood, high school, college, in their neighborhoods, at work, at church and in the communities where they grew up. Take a few minutes and think about those friends that you have known all your life. List some of the ways those friends have enriched your life. Think about all those times when you needed a friend and your friends were just there. Good friendships are forever. Most of us have or have had a best friend. I like to think of my friends as best friends in various ways. I have a best friend who I just love to sit down and talk with. We may not see each other or talk with each other for a time but when we visit it is really special. I have close friends who have the same interests as I do. When we have a variety of friends with whom we share special interests, they keep us interested in many areas such as art, music, writing, politics, travel, country, helping others, working with various organizations and serving our communities. We have special friends who go to our churches and sing in choirs. Friends can be anywhere and even though we may have one best friend during our lifetime, never forget to share with your friends who enjoy doing the things you like to enjoy. Our lives are enriched by our friends and we are truly blessed when we have a variety of friends with different interests.
It says in the Bible that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It also says we should love one another. The Bible tells us that a friend loves you all the time. Proverbs 17:17. Friends and neighbors are the best. We need to be thankful for our friends and neighbors. Remember, there is always time and room in the heart to make a new friend.
I wish to leave you with a few examples of friendship taken from the book, Because We’re Friends by William and Patricia Coleman. As you think about your friends, I am sure you can think of many more ways that you enjoy time with friends. …… Sharing with a friend can turn anything into a magical moment. When two friends share a story, both the teller and the listener exchange an important gift. The good times between friends may be a thing of the past. But, the memories are indispensable. A friend is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. The most valuable antiques are old friends. And the most important, a friend is the best gift you can give yourself. Friendship is a sheltering tree.
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses, there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” James Boswell