Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
I was with a discussion group the other day where folks exchanged how they were dealing with the changes that come with the aging process. It was great to see these exciting older folks sharing how much they were doing and how enjoyable they have made their lives.
I shared with them something I have shared with you more than once over the years and that is that my principle hobby is collecting friends. This morning I had breakfast with the leader of a great organization and with a state legislator where I was again rewarded with stimulating conversation as well insight into some of the issues of the day. Both of these good people were folks that I have met in the not too distant past who offered their friendship without conditions.
I have often wondered how many people I might have become friends with over the years if I only would of stopped and got to know them a little better. They say you can’t tell a book by its cover and I have learned that neither can you tell a potential friend by surface impressions. I think I am the luckiest person I know because so many have given me so much through their friendship. I have learned that I can now easily answer the question often asked, “what’s in it for me,’ it is the infectious benefit of being with so many caring people who have yet to lose their sense of purpose or their sense of humor.
So take a little longer to know someone you just met for they may be harboring a latent great friendship just waiting for you to acquire. Here is a little story that I have edited slightly that I hope you enjoy and heed.
A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man so he took the bag out of the cave with him.
As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. He thought little about it until he dropped one of the balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone. Excited the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure.
He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he just threw it away.
It’s like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person. There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.
May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
When we moved into our new home, the first one we owned rather than rented, two of my husband’s friends gave him a bottle of champagne. In the hustle and bustle of getting settled, the gift was tucked away and temporarily forgotten.
Three months later we held a Christening party for our third child. Champagne flowed in celebration until, running short, we remembered our housewarming gift. In front of our guests, I opened the attached card and read it aloud, “Donald, take good care of this one, it’s yours!”
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Morris has a business appointment, and he arrives a little early. The receptionist points to a comfortable easy chair, and asks him to be seated for a short while. Morris settles down, picks up a glossy magazine from the glass-topped table, opens it, and tries to read. However, he finds that he cannot concentrate because he is distracted due to a rumpus coming from behind one of the doors leading off the reception area. Morris goes over to the receptionist and asks: “What’s going on in there?”
She replies: “It’s a partners’ meeting.”
“But why are they shouting at each other?” Morris asks.
“It’s a battle of wits,” she replies.
Morris asks: “Who is in there?”, and she answers: “Horowits, Lebowits, Rabinowits and Abramowits.”
She said “I got rid of my husband. The cat was allergic.”
A well respected surgeon was relaxing on his sofa one evening just after arriving home from work. As he was tuning into the evening news, the phone rang. The doctor calmly answered it and heard the familiar voice of a colleague on the other end of the line.
“We need a fourth for poker,” said the friend.
“I’ll be right over,” whispered the doctor.
As he was putting on his coat, his wife asked, “Is it serious?”
“Oh yes, quite serious,” said the doctor gravely. “In fact, three doctors are there already!”
“We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?”
At the company where I work, the other operators and I share a coffeepot. One morning I took it into the ladies room to fill it with water. Then I began preening in the mirror, brushing my hair and reapplying some makeup. I didn’t realize how long I’d been until someone slid a note under the door.
“You win,” it read. Any ransom demand will be met. Just release the coffeepot.”
I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy.
Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.
Charles R. Swindoll
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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