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What kind of a friend are you willing to be?
"It's like you're always stuck in second gear. When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year. But, I'll be there for you . . ."
I love TV. I am its greatest fan when I think it's good, and its biggest critic when I think it's bad. The old sitcom, Friends, is more than entertainment for me. I know these people. Well, not exactly these people, but little bits of people I know and love show up in this group of friends.
It's not the setting of the program that is familiar to me. I've been to New York City twice - 37 years apart. And I could only wish I had friends who looked like the actors on this show. For one thing, they are all way too young to be my contemporaries. But exchanges between them, or emotions displayed by them, or situations created among them, are dead give-aways for people I've called friend.
I am part of a group of friends, four of us girls, who have joked for 30-plus years that we are going to be old ladies in The Home together. When one of us divorced some years ago, and her father gave her a lot of grief over who was going to take care of her in her old age, the three of us told her to tell him in no uncertain terms: we would. And I don't doubt for a minute that we will.
Another of the group had her first baby rather late in life. Definitely not in her twenties. More like double that. Two of us made the trek from Atlanta to Jacksonville, Florida, to lay eyes on this greatly anticipated new arrival. No blood relative could have been happier than we were. Besides, I felt there was no where else on earth for me to be at that time. These are the women who have come to see me at every out-of-the-way place I've ever lived in my history roaming the earth as an Army wife. I could at the very least get myself down to Florida for a new baby.
This was October 1995. While I was with my friends remembering how to operate a diaper, my still active duty husband called to say he was going to make a return visit to the Arabian Peninsula courtesy of Sadaam Hussein. And he would probably have to leave before I could get back from Jacksonville. And he had no idea how long he would be gone. I hung up, told my friends the details they hadn't overheard already, and wondered out loud what I was going to do.
Let me say right here, this was a minor inconvenience in 1995 compared to what military spouses have dealt with now for a decade, under much more serious circumstances than I ever faced. But at the time, this was a big deal for me.
Well, I didn't have to wonder what I was going to do for long because my two friends knew exactly what I was going to do. The Jacksonville friend loaded our car up with enough coffee and artificial stimulants like Twinkies and Ding Dongs to keep us hyper and awake for 500 miles. The friend who had driven down from Atlanta with me put me in the car at three o'clock in the morning and proceeded to take me home to see my husband off for an unknown period of time, cutting her own weekend vacation in half - all the while with a smile on her face. I ended up walking into my house with three hours to spend with a husband I wouldn't see again for several months because I had friends who took care of me.
Recently there was a story in our local paper about a fire that broke out in the home of three elderly women. One of the ladies died. They believe she perished trying to keep the fire from spreading to her friends' part of the house. I can believe that. I have friends like that.
When God says in the Bible that he will never leave us or forsake us, I believe one of the ways he guarantees that is by giving us friends. Friends like I have. Friends I thank Him for every day.