Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
As I reported yesterday Kiwanis Members from all over the world are gathering in Indianapolis this week for our annual convention. There will be a lot of celebrating since it is the organizations 100th anniversary but there will also be a lot of work done. Members of all ages from the various Kiwanis youth and adult clubs will donate time and energy to help make our city a little brighter. They also will feed and entertain many of my fellow citizens during a couple of public events.
But of greater importance will be their planning and commitment to continue to serve the children of the world through service. Millions of kids lead better and healthy lives because of what Kiwanians in all parts of the world have done to meet the needs of children.
Unfortunately I don’t move as fast as I once did and health problems have frequently restricted my activities of late requiring me to sit on the sidelines and cheer for my fellow members as they do good work. What I will be able to do this week though is to renew old friendships. When I was on the Kiwanis International staff and I had the good fortune to work with folks all over the globe, people who became friends. I cannot overstate how much I have appreciated them all and how much I look forward to seeing many again.
Here is a story that could have been written about me. I don’t know who wrote it but I like it.
Old Friends Forever
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avant garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 & 70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost friend… I will.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore.
I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).
True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.
A fine funeral was ordered for a woman who had henpecked her husband, driven her kids half nuts, scrapped with the neighbors at the slightest opportunity, and even made neurotics of the cat and dog with her explosive temper. As the casket was lowered into the grave, a violent thunderstorm broke, and the pastor’s benediction was drowned out by a blinding flash of lightning, followed by terrific thunder.
“Well,” commented one of the mourners, “sounds like she got where she was going.”
Someone sent me a postcard picture of the earth. On the back it said, “Wish you were here.”
When visiting the senior center I heard him say:
I’m the life of the party…… even if it lasts until 8 p.m.
I’m usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going.
I’m awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.
I’m smiling all the time because I can’t hear a thing you’re saying.
I’m very good at telling stories; over and over and over and over…
I’m aware that other people’s grandchildren are not nearly as cute as mine.
I’m so cared for — long term care, eye care, private care, dental care.
I’m not really grouchy, I just don’t like traffic, waiting, crowds, lawyers, loud music, unruly kids, Toyota commercials, barking dogs, politicians and a few other things I can’t seem to remember right now.
I’m sure everything I can’t find is in a safe secure place, …somewhere.
I’m having trouble remembering simple words like…….
And, how can my kids be older than I feel sometimes?
I’m a walking storeroom of facts….. I’ve just lost the key to the storeroom door.
I heard that there is a sign taped to the women’s room mirror at my old office that reads:
“Objects in this mirror are MUCH prettier than they appear.”
He said: One Sunday morning when my son, David, was about 5, we were attending a church in our community. It was common for the preacher to invite the children to the front of the church and have a small lesson before beginning the sermon. He would bring in an item they could find around the house and relate it to a teaching from the Bible. This particular morning, the visual aid for his lesson was a smoke detector. He asked the children if anyone knew what it meant when an alarm sounded from the smoke detector.
My child immediately raised his hand and said, “It means Daddy’s cooking dinner.”
A good friend will come and bail you out of jail…but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, “Damn…that was fun!”
Coming out of church, Mrs. Peterson asked her husband, “Do you think that Johnson girl is tinting her hair?”
“I didn’t even see her,” admitted Mr. Peterson.
“And that dress Mrs. Hansen was wearing,” continued Mrs. Peterson, “Really, don’t tell me you think that’s the proper costume for a mother of two.”
“I’m afraid I didn’t notice that either,” said Mr. Peterson.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” snapped Mrs. Peterson. “A lot of good it does you to go to church.”
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.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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