This past week, as I have visited the place where I used to live, there has been a spirit of friendship in my life. Every day I've been able to reconnect with old friends and/or enjoy time with new ones. Those I've known for many years have watched my life take twists and turns for better and for worse. My new friends don't seem to care where I've been or who I was in the past; we relish each other's company in the present. Some of these friends have made special efforts to comfort me in times of need, or just to keep in touch when they knew I needed their strength.
Recently, I listened to a commencement speech given by Charlotte Maillard Schultz, Chief of Protocol for the State of California. She commented that one of the ten most important aspects of a successful life is cultivating friendships. Her husband, former Secretary of State George Schultz, is a great example to her for the effort he puts forth to maintain close friendships over a lifetime. She said that this has not come easy to her or her husband; they must constantly and conscientiously work at keeping this balance in their lives.
Not only does nurturing a friendship add equilibrium to the life of the person who instigates, but we never know if someone might be needing our support. I think of some friendships I could have had at times in my life, but I was either self-absorbed or going too fast to take the time for friends. I also cringe at the thought of those who could have befriended me but didn't, sometimes due to my lack of openness. One of those I got to visit this week only became my friend when both our lives simultaneously self-combusted. Soon after our "apocalypses," we discovered many things we had in common and we've been friends ever since. We laughed recently when she said she would have befriended me earlier, but that I didn't "look like" I needed a friend. I told her I'm glad I look like I need one now!
Interspersed with the friendly visits this week, Sheridan and I have been adding some decorative touches to her apartment. It should be no surprise to me that a happy, energetic 20-year-old would chose photos of her family and friends to adorn the walls. These are her priorities, and friends come close to the top of her list. Because in the end, we should all remember the song, "Make New Friends, but Keep the Old. One is Silver and the Other Gold." The ultimate service is sincere and lasting friendship.
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