The Blessing of Friendship

I am feeling truly blessed this birthday week! I’ve been showered with love at work, at home, and across the miles via Facebook and phone. My office is full of flowers and cards, where I was serenaded by the preschool classes — not once, but three times — and also by my church choir.  And I don’t recall a year when I’ve eaten so many birthday meals!

🎂🎂🎂

A Special Gift

The Lord has provided me with an abundance of friends throughout my life. They span all generations and come from diverse backgrounds. Some have moved far away but we have managed to stay in touch. Others have left this world far too young, but their memory still lives in my heart..

Like family, they celebrate my victories and comfort me when I grieve. They know when to speak the truth, but also that silence speaks volumes. When I am low, they lift me up and shield me with their prayers. Still other times, I find a gift or note of encouragement quite out of the blue, yet just when it’s needed most.

Where did you all come from? Why am I so blessed?

Such friends could only be gifts from God, because they make this world a brighter place. 🥰

The Gift of Friendship

Random Reminders

We’ve all lost someone we love. Family. Friends. Pets. And along with each loss there will always be random reminders. Songs, sayings, or objects pop up now and then to call attention to their absence.

For me, today’s random reminder was a Chiquita Banana sticker.

Just before Christmas I lost a dear friend. He was a senior member of our church, and someone I admired for his ability to always make me smile.

Calvin came by the church every week to help prepare the sanctuary for Sunday worship. He always stopped by my office for a chat and a snack, and now I am missing my friend.

After Calvin passed away, I learned that at one time he collected Chiquita Banana stickers. He stuck them on the side of a cabinet door in his kitchen — dozens of them! It was a quirky memory that made me laugh. Now I will have a yet another reminder of that special friendship whenever I peel a banana.

Friends are Gifts from God

When I was asked to speak at Calvin’s memorial service, that was a first for me. Although it was an emotional day, I managed to share my thoughts and hold my emotions in check. I imagined Calvin sitting in the congregation, and that did the trick. He was an amazing storyteller, and I tried to recall some of his finest moments. This was my closing paragraph:

I am always amazed by the wonderful people that the Lord continues to place in my path here at this little church, and I am so grateful that Calvin was one of them. His friendship has been one of God’s many blessings in my life and I will treasure it always.

In addition to the friends I have made through my church, my life has been enriched by the friendships I have made from childhood until present day. Yes, I’ve lost touch with some of them, but I still carry their memories and stories in my heart. They are part of who I am. There are other friends who have become as close to me as my own family members. My life would feel incomplete without them.

And I have room for many more.

In Loving Memory
Calvin James McGehee, Jr.

August 3, 1936 — December 22, 2018