Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friends Are Paramount to Life

Last week Patti and I visited some dear friends in Naples, Florida. We have known Rob and Charmaine for 15 years, but they moved away from this area almost six years ago.  We have not been able to visit them during this time, mostly because of my work schedule. We finally made it!

Naples must be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. It lies on the west coast of southern Florida with fluffy white beaches and beautiful gulf waters. It is a real paradise. They say that there are more retired CEO's in Naples, per capita, than anywhere in the nation. I can see why they want to live there! 


While we were in Naples, Patti woke up, on her birthday, with a migraine. That ruined the day for her, but she was up and moving by the evening. Talk about missing one's birthday...Patti did! She made up for it on the beach looking for seashells. Patti thought she had died and gone to "Seashell Heaven".

I am not a fisherman. I never grew up around the water, so the most fishing I ever did as a kid was at a pond.  I went deep-sea fishing once on the morning after our high school graduation. The last time I remember fishing was on a lake outside of Texarkana in 1982-1983. Well, Rob and Charmaine took Patti and I fishing off the coast of Naples.  We do quite well "bait fishing", but never got a strike when we went off a reef for the game fish.  It was mega fun.

I told you the story about our three days in Naples as a lead-in to the subject of Friends. No, not the TV sitcom, but the concept and importance of friendship.  We met Rob and Charmaine when we moved to Tomball. In fact, they took us out to lunch on our first Sunday.  Rob was an elected leader in the church and Charmaine was involved in everything.  They were both natural leaders and as far as I am concerned, being a natural leader is far more important than holding an elected position.

Rob and Charmaine were real people.  They lived in the real world, had real challenges, made real decisions, and were wonderful role models for a number of people.  As we go through the journey of life, if we are fortunate, we will develop friends along the way.  I respected both of these people for eight years, but they also became friends.  I cannot imagine what life would have been like without them.

The other day I went shopping for a novel.  I went into Half Priced Books and as I was browsing around, I saw one of those Mystery Murder Dinner games.  You invite eight guests for dinner and they portray the characters during the evening, including dressing up for the part.  As soon as I saw the game I thought of Rob and Charmaine.  They had one of those dinners and we were invited.  That they did something unique like that always stayed in my mind.  They are two people who just do things like that.

Don't take friendships for granted.  Friendships have to be fostered.  They will grow if you will give them a chance. Some of the friendships that we make in life can remain for a lifetime. They are a gift from God and I think Rob and Charmaine are one of those gifts---not just to us, but to everyone they touch.  Rob seems to be really laid back, but there is more there than meets the eye.  Charmaine seems to be "the life of the party" (the ultimate hostess, the fun person that we all want to be like), but if this is all you see, you will miss the serious-minded,, thought-provoking person who is deep in many different ways.  You can see how they fit together.

I know that Rob and Charmaine will remain our friends for the rest of this earthly experience. We all need relationships like these in our lives.  Take an inventory this week and see where you stand. If the evaluation disappoints you, do something about it. If the end result is satisfactory and you are being honest with yourself, just thank God.

The journey thru life is full of relationships. How full is your life?

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