February 9, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

Yesterday when co-workers gathered around the TV gasping with horror at the news of Anna Nicole's death, I stupidly asked, "Who was Anna Nicole Smith?"

It seems she had many friends/followers. I asked myself why, and have yet to find a good answer. Is someone considered a friend because they are in the news a lot? But, even the Ohio Gopher has come out of his burrow to watch this news. He says she was a "Celebrity Paradox".

Well, whoever she was to so many people, her death has made me think about my friends and who they are and what my definition of a friend is.

An article about friends caught my eye yesterday. You’ve heard it before…


“If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself.” For instance, you wouldn’t tell your best friend they were ugly or fat, so don’t say it to yourself.

Suddenly, I thought to myself. “Who is my best friend?” “Do I have one?”

Immediately several of you reading this might sit up a little straighter and offer, “But I’m your friend!”

I doubt I’d tell anyone they were fat or ugly – while some of you might not mind doing so if the time was right - . So, my definition of friend might be different from yours.

My good friend, Floyd, writes that God is our best friend. I believe that God is Floyd’s best friend and it’s Floyd’s desire to serve Him above all else. This is important to Floyd. Why? The answer is not my story today.

The question calls out to me. Why do I call Floyd my good friend? Before he started a website, we had contact only every few years and that was to catch up on family things. I knew his wife, Tania, better than I knew and understood Floyd.

The answer? I define a "friend" as 'someone who does not hurt me'. Floyd has never hurt me. We have been tested and it did not happen. He might not be my best friend – only because I reserve that for females and relatives. And, he might not be a confidant or loving friend – because I reserve that for my husband or family – but he is my definition of a friend.

Of course, you have to understand my meaning of hurt and that is not the purpose to today’s writing either. Others might not have the same definition of a friend. I think my sister Sandy would think of a friend as someone she can have fun with. My husband might define a friend as someone he can trust with his life (few indeed).

Yesterday morning at about 5 a.m., my friend was the exhaust from the cold motor of the car. My mind was in a muddle about having to get up at such an unearthly hour, all alone, in the bitter night wind chill and go to a job that has me upset and discouraged.

I was worried about an incident that had happened when I grumbled about a nurses aide for sitting at the desk instead of working. I knew she had been very angry at me and did not let me explain anything. I knew she had written a note to my supervisor and, even though I KNEW I had done nothing wrong, I realized quickly that I don’t have as many FRIENDS in high places as she does because she has worked there for many years. (Worked?) Oh well. You read the story.

As I sat in the freezing car yesterday morning, I couldn’t move my right hand to put the gear into “R” and back out of the driveway. Suddenly I felt like I didn’t have a friend in the word. Maybe I hadn’t said enough morning prayer, but my hand just wouldn’t move toward the gear shift. My friends all seemed far away and sound asleep. Who could I trust? Then I did ‘pray’. I asked for my angel to show herself in the whiff of heat exhaust coming from a chimney vent in the roof of the house. (Remember how the chimneys all do that when it’s cold?)

Well, nothing happened. The clock on the dash told me the minutes were ticking by and I was going to be late for work if I got there at all. I sat there with my fingers tucked under my legs to keep them warm. The car still running and I was running late!

Suddenly (you guessed it), the wind changed a little and the car exhaust blew toward a small pine tree that stood in front of the car. And, behind that tree was a streetlight. As the exhaust from the CAR hit the tree, it exploded into thousands of brilliant lights as it reflected in the street light behind the tree! I’m sure my angel sent that display to show me that I’m never alone and help is always on the way!

When I got to work, it was worse than I had expected. I won’t go into the sad details but the memory of that cloud of lights helped me through another difficult day at work.

I’m not finished with my thoughts about friends (and I hope you won’t think this is too long and stop reading now.)

Can you list your friends?

Faithful Friend _________ Best Friend ____________ Loving Friend ___________ Trusting Friend _________ Occasional Friend _____________ Long-time Friend __________ Former Friend __________ Casual Friend __________ Confident ___________ New Friend __________ Meaningless Friend __________ Respected friend __________

Funny! How can one have a Meaningless Friend? That’s my point. All friends need a definition. Friends change. Sometimes we don’t even realize someone is our friend until we are in need and they are there for us! I think of Bonnie and someone named Lee who doesn't even know he's my friend. (Don't ask.)

Briefly, while I have many friends in the same category, I’ll list a few that come to mind. Juanita is a new friend. (I so enjoyed her response to my article, Send Funny Jokes.) Johnnie is my faithful friend of many years. Jim is my confidant and loving friend. Floyd and Tania are among my trusting friends. Teresa (my former boss) is a respected friend. My children are a great description of the best in friendship. Sweet Katy (Billy’s wife) is a special friend. Shelley (Philip's wife) is my friend because she is my son's wife and I love her too. My sister Sandy is always there for me even though we have been through many storms and have had ups and downs. She is a loyal friend, best friend and faithful friend. Grace (from Missouri) is an old friend. Of course, my dog Sheba is rated high up there in the friend list! She is as loyal as they come!

Most of all I'm blessed to say that my husband is a friend who knows me so well that he would never do anything or say things that would hurt me. I can boast that he is all of the above in what I value in a friendship.

There are many of my friends who would nudge me to list God as my best friend. Believe me folks, for most of my life I would have announced that from the housetop! I’m not saying that things are different now. It’s just that by my definition of friendship, I need that physical ness (not sure that’s a word) (actions, physical form) to get the strength to lift my right arm for that gearshift.

Lastly, I promise my readers that I am your friend. Some of you don’t know and may never know me, but it is my desire to be kind to you and never hurt you. If by my words, you feel betrayed or hurt, please know that I would reach out and take your hand in love and peace. It is not by our choosing do we travel this path together.
(Or is it?)

When we feel that our “friend” has let us down, we may strike out in fear and anger. It is not against you or them (my friend) but against the fear within.

Take Care on the Journey

~Linda

3 comments:

Juanita said...

"There are really only two choices about how to approach everything in life. One is fear and one is love. Your choice in each moment determines who you are and how your world is." - Leslie Fieger

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.Author : UnKnown

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.Author : Helen Keller

It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.Author : Henry Ward Beecher

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.Author : Muhammad Ali

This one was sent to me by a friend of Lanita's :)
Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

Clay Feet said...

Friends who would nudge you to list God as your best friend would be suspect as good friends. As you know, I too grew up in that environment of expectations. But we have both grown in understanding, both within and somewhat of reality. You are coming from a mountain of pain and spiritual abuse that is well documented in your book. Your current feelings reflect well the results of that kind of treatment and I am proud of your honesty and compassion today.
Your kind words about us are very generous and even make me nervous. I will only say that I have all confidence that God is a long way from being finished in His pursuit of your heart.
Your "trusted" friend.

The Cat's Meow said...

"A friend will bail you out of jail, but a TRUE friend will be in jail with you."..cousin Ralph Padgett
Glad to be your friend and sister. Without God,thank-you very much.
Your frvorite sister.