Men’s Life magazine surprised itself with a survey – asking its readers “What’s the most important thing in your life?” And no, it was not sex, it was not career, it was neither fame nor fortune. The most important things to 63 percent of the men were their wives and ninety percent of married men called their wives their best friend.
I am one fortunate guy. I married the ‘love of my life’ and get to spend every day with her, soon to be our 34th year. She is my best friend! Perhaps the only one who could stand me for 42 years, 10 months, 19 days, 56 hours and 36 minutes (exact at the moment this is being written)…and counting!
She was in my parent’s prayers since before our births, and in my deepest, most private utterances to God since the early teen years.
It’s tempting to suggest that I am one lucky guy, except that it was more than luck that we found each other when we did. Too many things simply had to be worked out by God!
Norman Douglas said “to find a friend one must close one eye; to keep him, two.” That might be one way TJ looks at me?
It is true that a friend is one who knows all about you and likes you just the same. Terry is my friend, one who knows me as I am, understands where I’ve been, accepts who I’ve become, and still, gently invites me to grow. She one who makes me be my best.
She has a special quotation: “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
Our marriage is a series of successive surprises. Happily married couples appreciate what they each bring to the relationship. Their union is more than just the process of addition. One plus one now equals a deep sense of valuing and being valued.
We’re working every day on our friendship. Our friendship depends on mutual care and a sense of trust. We’ve come to know that old friends are as comfortable as our favorite pair of shoes. New ones are as exciting as the best of life’s adventures. And best of all, having friends gives us the privilege of being a friend.
I wish we knew the author who wrote:
There are those who pass like ships in the night. Who meet for a moment, then sail out of sight
With never a backward glance of regret; Folks we know briefly then quickly forget.
Then there are friends who sail together Through quiet waters and stormy weather
Helping each other through joy and through strife. And they are the kind who give meaning to life.
One man summarized what he had learned during a Dale Carnegie course: If you want to keep friends and have people like you, there are three things you must never do. Each one of these begins with a “C”. The first one is, “Never complain”; the second, “Never condemn;” and the last one, “Never criticize.”
I especially find C. S. Lewis’ words delightful: ‘Eros will have naked bodies; friendship naked personalities.” I suppose anything you can do together as a couple helps strengthen your marriage.
I heard Dr. Dobson on a radio station describe a problem I‘ve seen several times in marriages. The bride expects her new husband to always be romantic and to carry her emotionally. The groom expects to be able to go out to conquer the world and come home at night to his “help meet” who will stroke his male ego, bragging on him for the way he provides for the family. Dr. Dobson called both of these two selfish. He says that each partner in a marriage should look for ways to take care of the other. My job is to love my wife, not to evaluate her support of me. I believe that sounds like Paul in Ephesians 5:25. He writes, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
The Bible says iron sharpens iron–butter doesn’t sharpen iron. A man must be strong in who he is and a woman must be strong in who she is, like two pieces of iron. Sure, they’ll rub together and it won’t always be pleasant. But it will be beneficial. Working through their differences is what makes couples strong.
I love the poem that describes what I enjoy: O, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, Having neither to weigh thoughts, Nor measure words — but pouring them right out — just as they are — Chaff and grain together, Certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them — Keep what is worth keeping — And with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
Real friends don’t care if your socks don’t match. Real friends have a great time doing absolutely nothing together. A real friend warms you by her presence, trusts you with her secrets, and remembers you in her prayers.
Our friends are the people whom we choose; usually friends are the same sort of people as ourselves. My neighbor is the man whom I do not choose; he is the man whom God gives to me. He is the man who happens to live in the house next to mine; he is the man who happens to sit opposite to me in the train; he is the clerk who works at the desk next to mine. I have no right to say that he is no concern of mine, because, if I am a Christian, I know that he is the man whom God has given to me.
A friend is one who warns you. A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you today just the way you are.
Are you cultivating such friends? Are you being a friend? Are there a few folks who will stand near you, sheltering you with their branches?
Jay Kesler has said that one of his great hopes in life is to wind up with at least eight people who will attend his funeral without once checking their watches. I love it! Do you have eight people who’ll do that? 
“Two boys in the last war were devoted pals and friends. After a bitter battle one day, one of the boys found that his pal was missing and knew that he was somewhere out there in No-man’s Land. He asked for permission to go out after his friend but the commander said it was no use for no one was alive out there after the withering fire of many hours. After great insistence, he was finally given permission to go. Some time later he came back with the limp body of his friend over his shoulder. The commander said, “Didn’t I tell you it was no use to go?” to which the boy replied with radiance in his eyes, “But it was. I got there in time to hear him whisper, ‘I knew you’d come.'”
We don’t know the source of these words, but they speak to all of us who have that ‘special person’ in our life: A friend is: a push when you’ve stopped, a word when you’re lonely, a guide when you’re searching, a smile when you’re sad, a song when you’re glad.
A friend will joyfully sing with you when you are on the mountaintop, and silently walk beside you through the valley.
Our model for friendship is that of the Christian and Jesus Christ, who said to His disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14-15). Out of this passage we can compile a list of things for which we are chosen and to which we are called:
We are chosen for joy. However, hard the Christian way is, it is, both in the travelling and in the goal, the way of joy. There is always a joy in doing the right thing. The Christian is the man of joy, the laughing cavalier of Christ. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothes and long faces. It is true that the Christian is a sinner, but he is a redeemed sinner; and therein lies his joy. How can any man fail to be happy when he walks the ways of life with Jesus?
We are chosen for love. We are sent out into the world to love one another. Sometimes we live as if we were sent into the world to compete with one another, or to dispute with one another, or even to quarrel with one another. But the Christian is to live in such a way that he shows what is meant by loving his fellow men. It is here that Jesus makes another of his great claims. If we ask him: What right have you to demand that we love one another? His answer is: “No man can show greater love than to lay down his life for his friends-and I did that.” Many a man tells men to love each other, when his whole life is a demonstration that that is the last thing he does himself. Jesus gave men a commandment which he had himself first fulfilled.
Jesus called us to be his friends. He tells his men that he does not call them slaves any more; he calls them friends. Now that is a saying which would be even greater to those who heard it for the first time than it is to us. Doulos, the slave, the servant of God was no title of shame; it was a title of the highest honour. Moses was the doulos of God (Deuteronomy 34:5); so was Joshua (Joshua 24:29); so was David (Psalm 89:20). It is a title which Paul counted it an honour to use (Titus 1:1); and so did James (James 1:1).
The greatest men in the past had been proud to be called the douloi, the slaves of God. And Jesus says: “I have something greater for you yet, you are no longer slaves; you are friends.” Christ offers an intimacy with God which not even the greatest men knew before he came into the world.
The idea of being the friend of God has also a background. Abraham was the friend of God (Isaiah 41:8). In Wisdom 7:27, wisdom is said to make men the friends of God. But this phrase is lit up by a custom which obtained both at the courts of the Roman Emperors and of the eastern kings. At these courts there was a very select group of men called the friends of the king, or the friends of the Emperor. At all times they had access to the king: they had even the right to come to his bedchamber at the beginning of the day. He talked to them before he talked to his generals, his rulers, and his statemen. The friends of the king were those who had the closest and the most intimate connection with him.
Jesus called us to be his friends and the friends of God. That is a tremendous offer. It means that no longer do we need to gaze longingly at God from afar off; we are not like slaves who have no right whatever to enter into the presence of the master; we are not like a crowd whose only glimpse of the king is in the passing on some state occasion. Jesus gave us this intimacy with God, so that he is no longer a distant stranger, but our close friend.
Jesus did not only choose us for a series of tremendous privileges. He called us to be his partners. The slave could never be a partner. He was defined in Greek law as a living tool. His master never opened his mind to him; the slave simply had to do what he was told without reason and without explanation. But Jesus said: “You are not my slaves; you are my partners. I have told you everything; I have told you what I am trying to do, and why I am trying to do it. I have told you everything which God told me.” Jesus has given us the honour of making us partners in his task. He has shared his mind with us, and opened his heart to us. The tremendous choice laid before us is that we can accept or refuse partnership with Christ in the work of leading the world to God.
Jesus chose to be ambassadors. “I have chose you,” he said, “to send you out.” He did not choose us to live a life retired from the world, but to represent him in the world. When a knight came to the court of King Arthur, he did not come to spend the rest of his days in knightly feasting and in knightly fellowship there. He came to the king saying: “Send me out on some great task which I can do for chivalry and for you.” Jesus chose us, first to come in to him, and then to go out to the world. And that must be the daily pattern and rhythm of our lives.
Jesus chose us to be advertisements. He chose us to go out to bear fruit, and to bear fruit which will stand the test of time. The way to spread Christianity is to be Christian. The way to bring others into the Christian faith is to show them the fruit of the Christian life. Jesus sends us out, not to argue men into Christianity, still less to threaten them into it, but to attract them into it; so to live that its fruits may be so wonderful that others will desire them for themselves. 
Believers form a bond of “friends,” a spiritual bond founded by Christ Himself. Being a “friend” of Jesus is conditional. A person has to know and do His commandments in order to be a friend. The implication is clear: there is no way to be His friend apart from knowing what He says. It is His Word that tells men about Him. Therefore, a person has to diligently seek to learn His Word and to do what He says in order to know Him and to become His friend.
The point is clear: friends relate and commune with each other, share and respond to the word of each other, rejoicing when the word or conversation is that of joy; and helping when the word or request is that of needing help. They come to each other’s assistance, in both good and bad occasions.
Two men were traveling together, when a bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could.
The bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone, the other traveler descended from the tree, and jocularly inquired of his friend what it was the bear had whispered in his ear. “He gave me this advice,” his companion replied. “Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger.”
Jesus Christ revealed and made known exactly what God told Him. It is the Word of God that gives birth and structure to the bond of “friends.” Our relationship with Him brings substance and purpose. It provides focus as we seek to “work out our salvation” (bring it to maturity) in our daily endeavors. And what is done is for God’s glory, not ours!
When the first World War ended, the King and Queen of Belgium wanted to honor President Herbert Hoover for the aid they had received during the war from the United States. After considering the various honors, the monarch offered Hoover his choice of three decorations. President rejected all of the honors stating: “You have stood at the gateway of civilization and held back the tide of aggression, while we have only shared with you what we had to give. For that one does not ask for honors.” The King and Queen responded, “He is our very great friend.” Desiring to adequately express their appreciation for his efforts, they created a new order to which Hoover alone belonged, “Friend of the Belgian people.”
We need to complete the apostle John’s instruction, because being a ‘friend of Christ’ has obligation and brings opportunity: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16)
The supreme purpose of believers is to go and bear fruit. Believers are the chosen and ordained of Christ, and they have been given the very same purpose of Christ Himself: to go into all the world and bear fruit among men. This is one of the great verses of Scripture.
Most of us have many acquaintances but very few friends, and even some of our friends may prove unfriendly or even unfaithful. What about Judas? “Yes, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9). Even a devoted friend may fail us when we need him most. Peter, James, and John went to sleep in the Garden when they should have been praying; and Peter even denied the Lord three times. Our friendship to each other and to the Lord is not perfect, but His friendship to us is perfect.
One day while he was a fugitive, David was near Bethlehem, his home city, and he longed for a drink of water from the well by the gate. Three of his mighty men were close enough to David to hear his sigh, and they risked their lives to bring their king the water that he wanted (2 Sam. 23:15-17). That is what it means to be a friend of the king.
Believers are not called to be an exclusive club of retirees who have it made and who can go about doing what they want, knowing they are eternally secure. Believers are the ambassadors of Christ in the world. Once they have been saved, their duty—their sole reason for being appointed and left in this world—is to deliver the message of their King.
Loneliness is a growing problem in our society. A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the most lonely group in America are college students. That’s surprising! Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly. To point out how lonely people can be, Charles Swindoll mentioned an ad in a Kansas newspaper. It read, “I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.00.” Swindoll said, “Sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn’t long before this individual was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship.”
Vance Packard called us “a nation of strangers.” Louise Bernikow calls loneliness “an American epidemic.” A T & T urges us to “reach out and touch someone.” The television, computer, and bank-teller machine eliminate the need for others. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Paul Simon of Simon & Garfunkle wrote the following lyrics:
Don’t talk of love, I’ve heard the word before; It’s sleeping in my memory of feelings that have died.
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain. If I never loved, I never would have cried.
I am a rock; I am an island. I have my books and my poetry to protect me.
Shielded in my armor, Hiding in my room, Deep within my womb,
I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock; I am an island.
Maybe Paul’s trouble can be summed up in the little word I.
Unless and until we can live with ourselves, we cannot live with other people. But equally, unless and until we have learnt to live fully and creatively with others we cannot hope to live with ourselves. 
An English publication offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of entries received were the following: “One who multiplies joys, divides grief”; “One who understands our silence”; “A volume of sympathy bound in cloth”; and “A watch which beats true for all time and never runs down.” But the entry which won the prize said, “A friend–the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
Often the most loving thing we can do when a friend is in pain is to share the pain–to be there even when we have nothing to offer except our presence and even when being there is painful to ourselves.
This was pointed out in a poignant way due to funeral recently. A relative of a close friend had passed away suddenly and it was difficult on the family. I wanted to be of comfort but didn’t really know what to say.
I went to the side of the casket with my friend and just stood in silence; words simply were not there. After a few minutes, we moved away and hug, again in silence.
Later, at home, I ‘kicked myself’ for not ‘doing more…saying more, wanting to be a strong support.’
A few days later, a letter came in the mail: “Thanks for being there. I couldn’t have made it without you,” my friend wrote. Sometimes just our caring presence makes the difference!
Mr. Alter’s fifth-grade class at Lake Elementary School in Oceanside, California, included fourteen boys who had no hair. Only one, however, had no choice in the matter. Ian O’Gorman, undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma, faced the prospect of having his hair fall out in clumps. So he had his head shaved. But then 13 of his classmates shaved their heads, so Ian wouldn’t feel out of place.
“If everybody has his head shaved, sometimes people don’t know who’s who,” said 11-year-old Scott Sebelius in an Associated Press story (March 1994). “They don’t know who has cancer, and who just shaved their head.” Ten-year-old Kyle Hanslik started it all. He talked to some other boys, and before long they all trekked to the barber shop.
“The last thing he would want is to not fit in,” said Kyle. “We just wanted to make him feel better.” Ian’s father, Shawn, choked back tears as he talked about what the boys had done. He said simply, “It’s hard to put words to.” 
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
Across the grasslands of East Africa, live some of nature’s most fascinating animals. The rhinoceros, a two-horned terror of tremendous speed, size and agility, is feared by most of the creatures in the wild. Being one of the most dangerous animals in the world, the rhino is avoided by most animals, that is, except the buffalo bird. Watching the rhinoceros in his natural habitat, you would see these birds perched on his back. From time to time, some would be pecking into his back much as a woodpecker would work away at an old tree. Others would be flying about the head of the rhino and still others lighting on his ears and pecking away.
The most amazing thing is that the rhino does not attack, for the two have an understanding. From birth, the rhino has poor eyesight. In addition, his body is covered with parasites which he cannot control. The flock of birds on his back do him a great service by eating these parasites, which are the whole of their diet. If there is any danger in the area, these birds let out a shrill call warning the rhino of what he cannot see.
In return for this service, they are protected from their natural predators by one of Africa’s largest mammals. In a real sense, these two totally different animals of the world kingdom are fulfilling the responsibilities of mutual friendship.
Helen Keller once said, “With the death of every friend I love — a part of me has been buried — but their contribution to my being of happiness, strength and understanding remains to sustain me in an altered world.”
Sam Davis was a Confederate spy executed at Pulaski, Tennessee, for his crime. When captured by the Union army, he had in his possession some papers of vital importance. After examining the case closely, the officers in charge knew he must have had an accomplice in securing the papers. He was court-martialed, led out before the firing squad and blindfolded. Then the officer in charge put forward a proposition: “If you will give us the name of the man who furnished you this information, you may go free.” Sam Davis did not hesitate in his reply, “If I had a thousand lives I would give them all before I would betray a friend.” “Loyalty thou are indeed a gem, seldom found in the hearts of men.” Most of us would be better off if we had a friend like Sam Davis.
It was an unusual occasion in Dallas. The men ranged from early 30’s to 45. Before the price of oil plummeted, a number of them had been making more than $1 million a year. Now they were meeting in a hotel on a retreat. They were discussing perseverance. . . how to survive. . . how to make it. Some were unemployed. Some had lost their homes. Some had lost their businesses. As I recall, one or two had lost their wives. Some were still shocked that a Texas oil economy could plummet. They were talking about what it takes to persevere under such adverse circumstances. One book that came into great discussion by Jim Smith, the leader of the group, was The Friendless American Male. You see, women build a friendship primarily by sharing. But American males primarily build a friendship through activities. When you’re hard pressed, when you begin to doubt your own ability, when you realize that what comes up can also come down, when you’re hurt and on the inside bleeding. . . you need a friend. A SAFE friend. A friend with whom you can share not just the bright side of your life. . . but the dark side of your life. Not just the ups . . . but also the downs. That’s why each man present at this retreat was urged: “If you don’t have one friend, by all means, get one! Try out how safe you are with him. Share a confidence with him. . . see if it gets back to you be repetition. Gradually see how much you can trust him. . . so that you can at least bare your soul with one human being on the face of the earth. Because everyone needs such a friend.”
The king of the comics, as far as I’m concerned, is still Peanuts by Charles Schulz. I love Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, Pigpen, the Little Red-Haired Girl, and Charlie Brown. There’s a ring of reality to their relationships.
One sequence comes to mind. Linus has just written a comic strip of his own, and he wants Lucy’s opinion. In the first frame, he tentatively hands Lucy his comic strip and says, “Lucy, would you read this and tell me if you think it is funny?”
In the next frame, you see Lucy patting her foot, and a little bit of a grin comes across her face. She looks at Linus and says, “Well, Linus, who wrote this?”
Linus with his chest heaved out and a great big grin says, “Lucy, I wrote that.”
In the next frame, you see Lucy wadding it up, throwing it to the side, and saying, “Well, then, I don’t think it’s very funny.”
In the final frame, you see Linus picking up his comic strip, throwing his blanket over his shoulder, looking at Lucy and saying, “Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.”
We find that humorous. I dare say if you and I thought long and hard enough, we’d remember being the crab grass in the lawn of somebody else’s life. None of us wants to be a loser. None of us wants to be a source of discouragement. And yet, if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves being more pessimistic than optimistic, more discouraging than encouraging. 
Insomuch as anyone pushes you nearer to God, he or she is your friend. When Justin Armour was a rookie wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills, some veteran teammates invited him to a preseason party. Justin went, and couldn’t believe what he saw: Gorgeous women everywhere, offering free sex to any of the guys who wanted it.
“It was the most eye-opening experience I’ve ever had,” Justin says. “I had heard about things like this, but I was so naive. I got out of there as fast as I could!”
As a single Christian guy, Justin had committed to saving sex for marriage. To do so, he knows he’s got to run from temptation.
“I’d rather not have my mind polluted by those things. Once you’ve been in a couple situations where’s there’s temptation, you learn how to avoid them and you don’t go back.” Justin also calls his best friend and accountability partner, Steve Stenstrom.
“You need someone to hold you accountable for walking with Christ,” says Justin. “Steve does that for me. He knows everything about my life, good and bad, and there’s nothing he won’t hold me accountable for.” 
Henson Towne wrote: Around the corner I have a friend, In this great city that has no end. Yet days go by and weeks rush on, And before I know it a year is gone, And I never see my old friend’s face; For life is a swift and terrible race. He knows I like him just as well as in the days when I rang his bell and he rang mine.
“We were younger then…and now we are busy, tired men…tired with playing a foolish game; tired with trying to make a name. “Tomorrow,” I say, “I will call on Jim, just to show that I’m thinking of him. But tomorrow comes — and tomorrow goes; and the distance between us grows and grows. Around the corner! — yet miles away… “here’s a telegram, sir.” “Jim died today.” And that’s what we get — and deserve in the end — around the corner; a vanished friend.”
As the movie Brian’s Song poignantly depicted, the friendship between Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo deepened into one of the best relationships in the history of sports.
Then, during the 1969 season, Piccolo was cut down with cancer. He fought to play the season out, but he was in hospitals more than he was in the games. Gale Sayers flew to be beside him as often as possible.
They had planned, with their wives, to sit together at the Professional Football Writers annual dinner in New York, where Sayers was to be given the George S. Halas Award as the most courageous player in pro football. But instead Pick was confined to his bed at home. As he stood to receive the award, tears sprang to Sayer’s eyes. The ordinarily laconic black athlete had this to say as he took the trophy:
“You flatter me by giving me this award, but I tell you here and now that I accept it for Brian Piccolo. Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas Award. I love Brian Piccolo and I’d like you to love him. Tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him too.”
“I love Brian Piccolo.” How often do we hear men say words such as those? But how much more enriched our lives could be if we dared to declare our affection as Sayers did that night in New York.
Alan Loy McGinnis relates the following: “In my hometown an obscure nurseryman died recently. His name was Hubert Bales, and he was the shyest man I ever met. When he talked, he squirmed, blinked his eyes rapidly, and smiled nervously. Hubert never ran in influential circles. He grew shrubs and trees, working with his hands the plot of land left by his father. He was anything but an extrovert.
“Yet when Hubert died, his funeral was the largest in the history of our little town. There were so many people that they filled even the balcony of the church. Why did such a shy man win the hearts of so many people? Simply because, for all his shyness, Hubert knew how to make friends. He had mastered the principles of caring, and for more than 60 years he had put people first. Perhaps because they recognized that his generosity of spirit was an extra effort for someone so retiring, people loved him back. By the hundreds.”
Henry Penn, former president of the Society of American Florists, tells what he calls one of the most memorable incidents of his life as a florist. One day two boys and a girl about ten years of age made a visit to his store. They wore ragged clothes, but had clean faces and hands. The boys took off their caps when they entered the shop. One of them stepped forward and said solemnly, “We’re the committee and we’d like some very nice yellow flowers.”
Penn showed them some inexpensive spring flowers but the boy said, “I think we’d like something better than that.”
“Do they have to be yellow?” asked Penn.
“Yes, sir,” was the reply.
“Mickey would like even better if they were yellow because he had a yellow sweater.”
“Are these for a funeral?” the florist asked quietly.
The boy nodded. The girl turned to keep back the tears.
“She’s his sister,” the boy explained. “he was a good kid — a truck — yesterday — he was playing in the street. We saw it happen.”
Then the other boy added, “Us kids took up a collection. We got eighteen cents. Would roses cost an awful lot, Mister? Yellow roses?”
Touched by the story of the tragedy and the loyalty and love of these youngsters, Penn replied, “I have some nice yellow roses here that I’m selling for eighteen cents a dozen.”
“Gee, those would be swell!” exclaimed one of the boys.
“Mickey would like those,” the other one confirmed.
“I’ll make up a nice spray,” promised the sympathetic florist, “with ferns and a ribbon. Where shall I send them?”
“Would it be all right, Mister, if we took ’em now?” asked one of the boys.
“We’d kinda like to take ’em over and give ’em to Mickey ourselves. He’d like it better that way.”
Penn accepted the eighteen cents. The “committee” carrying the kind of flowers “Mickey would like” walked out of the shop. Said Penn, “I felt uplifted for days. Unbeknownst to them, I had a part in their tribute to their friend.”
As Terry says often, “the best vitamin for making friends: B1.”
ten commandments of friendship
1. Speak to people — there is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
2. Smile at people — it takes 72 muscles to frown, but only 14 to smile!
3. Call people by name — the sweetest music to anyone’s ear is the sound of their own name.
4. Be friendly and helpful — if you would have friends, be friendly.
5. Be cordial — speak and act as if everything you do were a real pleasure.
6. Be genuinely interested in people — you can like everyone IF YOU TRY.
7. Be generous with praise; cautious with criticism.
8. Be considerate of the feelings of others — it will be appreciated.
9. Be thoughtful of the opinions of others.
10. Be alert to give service — what counts most in life is what we do for others!
1. No calls from salespeople pushing MCI’s “Friends and Family” plan.
2. You go to a video store and say out loud to yourself, “Well, what do you want to rent tonight?”
3. You send birthday cards to members of “The McLaughlin Group.”
4. You are one of the five best solitaire players in the world.
5. Your initials are G.S., and you own a Major League baseball team in the Bronx.
6. At your funeral, the entire eulogy is, “Yep, he’s dead.”
7. Having a Super Bowl party means dressing up your dogs and tying then to the furniture.
8. James Taylor sings the first bars of “You’ve Got a Friend,” notices you in the audience and stops.
9. You’re still drinking from the same keg you bought on New Year’s Eve 1987.
10. All your phone calls start with “900.” 
 Associated Press, 9/4/90
 The English poet and novelist, Dinah Craik
 Charles R. Swindoll, Hope Again, (Word, 1996), p. 121.
 Ibid, William Barclay.
 Esther de Waal in Living with Contradiction: Reflections on The Rule of St. Benedict. Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 8.
 Sherman L. Burford, Fairmont, West Virginia. Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 3.
 Rod Cooper, “The Kiss of Encouragement,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 141.
 Mark Moring; Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.
 Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS, Reader’s Digest, January 1996, p. 82.