Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Friends and Family

"Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are."
— Markus Zusak, Australian novelist

It used to be a viral marketing campaign for the MCI telephone company: “Friends and Family” was a friend circle of free long-distance calling. The point was to recruit your friends and family to subscribe to MCI so they could call more friends and family, who would add their friends and family, and so on, and so on… Having worked in PR and marketing for years, I’m disinclined to use marketing phrases in my writing or conversation. It’s trite. I won’t wear statement apparel, and am actually anti-designer label. If they want me to wear their logo or advertise their company, they can dang-well pay me for it.

But back to the friends and family thing. I have some great ones. There are some who pray for me regularly without needing a reminder. Some who are sensitive to the things I don’t say, and go out of their way to help. Some who will water my plants and take care of my pets so I can get a much-needed break. Some who are faithful to keep in touch, or send me messages about news or jobs or ideas. Some who actually believe and encourage my claims or hopes. Some who have sent gifts of money when I’d given no hint I was desperate. Some who have grieved with me and listened to my rants. Some who are professional colleagues but who like me as a personal friend. Some who say they’re inspired by my comments at Bible study, my writing, or my Facebook comments. Some who admire my opinion of what politicians ought to be doing. Some who sense or observe a need, and fill my need with the gifts of time, skill, expertise, and even cash. Some who, when I make a 350-mile trip back to visit my former life, lay down other plans in order to take me out to lunch, dinner, the movies, a drop-in chat, and (are you ready for this?) thousands of dollars’ worth of dental treatments at her expense. [post continues below images]

Every one of those gifts is evidence of their love and commitment to friendship—with me! I treasure the givers more than the gifts.

It’s not that I have such terrible self-esteem (well, not usually, anyway), but probably like you and many others, I wonder what in the world they’re thinking, that they should show me such love and honor. Is it because they have big hearts, or that their spirits are open to God’s prompting, or that they see a need they can fill and take initiative, or what? Am I so entertaining or such a valuable social asset?

While thanking a couple for treating me to a three-hour lunch and delightful conversation, I asked one of them what made her decide to come all that way. She looked surprised that I asked. “It’s because we love you, Christy!” she said.

This scripture is meant to be a proverb about the superficiality of people who value you only for what you can do for them, but just this once, I’m going to turn it around and upside down. I’m without income, and struggling with finances. But rather than being despised, I'm loved. The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many “friends.” Proverbs 14:20 NLT  It’s true. I do have many friends. Therefore, I must be rich. Woo-hooooooooooo! 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Cor. 13:4-7 NLT


  1. Facebook comments:

    Carolyn S...
    love you too~~

    You've reached out and touched someone. (old AT&T ads used to make me CRY).

    Patty N...
    :') sniff!

    Stephanie M...
    I loved the blog.


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