With the price of gold currently in the $1,200 per ounce range, few things would be thought to be more valuable than gold. That is if value were only thought of in monetary terms. Today a lady who has been a longtime friend of ours triggered a thought with me by opining that people who genuinely care about you are more valuable than gold. It just so happens that on this very day, this young lady’s father, who has been a longtime friend of ours will be visiting our home. People who are your friends regardless of your circumstances are indeed a rare treasure. People with whom you’ve shared life with all its ups and downs are precious.
In days before my time, we had gold rushes in California, Nevada, Oregon and again in Alaska among other places. People gave up their livelihoods to pursue this precious metal. Many lost their lives in pursuit of finding the mother lode. Are things really that different today? How many men and women do you know who forsake family and friends in pursuit of the gold of self-fulfillment? People who lose all sense of ethical behavior in favor of that next promotion or that next sales bonanza. As we achieve new levels of accomplishment, many times those who helped us achieve are left behind, no longer valuable to us in our current station.
Similarly, when we fall on hard times as we all do, how often do we tend to retreat from relationships of love and caring. How often do we impute upon others feelings that we we are no longer valuable as friends. We pull back believing that we have nothing of value to offer the relationship. In the process we hurt those who love us no matter our financial or family situation. Embarrassment is a tool of the devil to separate us from the very help that we need so desperately.
We need people who are friends for life. Far too many people are living in our small towns and our largest communities feeling very alone. Far too many people have allowed themselves to feel isolated and begin to withdraw from friends who love them and wonder what has happened to the relationship. Yet, every so often when we reconnect, we know we’ve found something better than gold. The hugs and the “oh, how we’ve missed seeing you!” flow both ways. and these relationships are restored.
Friends indeed are better than gold. Albert Camus once said, “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” I am looking forward to seeing my friend this evening. His company is soothing to my soul. We look into each others’ eyes, give each other a hug, and say come, sit, stay awhile, let me hear about your journey. We’ll share a couple of meals together and send him on his way with a blessing meant to last until the next time we see each other.
Such friendships aren’t found in the crowds, nor in the clamor of life. They’re found in the connecting and sharing of life experiences. In the quiet of a cup of coffee or tea. In the smallest gifts of kind words. When you see it, take of it freely, give to it freely, nurture it, allow it to grow. In the process, know that you have been touched by God who has granted you a rare and precious gift of loving your neighbor and being loved in return.
Enjoy the blessing that is so very rare.