Friendship is a wonderful and marvellous thing. But, at times, I find it hard to define. I think I have quite a few friends, but I'm never quite sure.
A friend - at least I'm pretty sure he is - called me a while ago to invite me to go to Nootka Sound on a fishing trip as his guest. I was flattered. But then he said, "You're the fifteenth person I've called."
"How many friends do you have?" I asked. "Fourteen," he answered. "Oh!" I replied. But went fishing anyway.
I have another friend (?) who when sending me a note, letter or greeting card always adds after his signature, "Your Only Friend."
Many years ago, another guy I considered my friend asked me to be the third base on a baseball team he was forming. I was glad he could see through my extra pounds to the hidden athlete within. I thanked him, but told him I didn't play baseball very well. There was a moment of silence and then he said, "You misunderstand. We want you to *be* third base!"
There's an old saying: "If you can count a true friend for each finger on each hand, and an enemy for each thumb, then you have been blessed." But I remember people saying to me numerous times, "You're all thumbs." I wonder now if they were trying to tell me something.
The lady who delivers our mail always has a cheerful greeting and a smile. I like to think of her as my friend.
My across-the-street neighbour has been my friend for over 10 years now, even if he doesn't think I wash my car often enough. He washes his a couple times a week! It hardly has a chance to dry before it gets wet again.
There's another guy who constantly borrows money from me. Each time I loan him some, he says, "Thanks. You are a good friend." I know I am or I wouldn't loan him the money. But I'm not sure about him, he never pays me back!
It is said friendship is golden. No one ever mentions the rust.
For me, the greatest definition of friendship can be found, for the most part, in people we have never met. They remain golden and will never gather rust. They are so numerous, they can't be counted. They are friends who allow me and others to celebrate our past and who stand guard over our future.
Some will remain forever young, while others are even older than me. Each year, their ranks are depleted as many trade this world for another. But there are always young men and women who step up to take their place.
These are real friends, true friends. Not only friends to you and me, but also friends to generations yet unborn. For the most part, we don't even know their names, or they ours. Yet still, they go when the call comes.
Some laid down their lives so we could take the deep breath of freedom whenever we chose. And usually, they only come to mind once a year. We spend the legacy they gave us with wild abandon, most of the time forgetting the cost and the sacrifice. At least I know I do. Some people don't take the time to ponder the full meaning of friendship for an hour, let alone a single day throughout the year.
A friendship, when asked to go the ultimate mile, was given without too much thought of self and without hesitation. So, I guess if I want to delve into the depths of what friendship truly is and what friendship truly means, I need go no further than a day that is set aside to honour the greatest friendship ever offered.
I don't know and didn't know their names, nor do they or did they know mine. But they were and are my friends. They were there when I needed them. The Bible says, no greater thing can one person do for another than to lay down their life for a friend.
Every November 11th, we are reminded of this. Its definition is plain.
No one can say they have no friends. Freedom verifies that we do.