Be a Real Friend

Rev. Dr. Michael S. Barry, Director of Pastoral Care, CTCA/Eastern Regional Medical Center

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. - Walter Winchell

If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! -- Ecclesiastes 4:10

It really is true that you find out who your friends are when you need them the most. True friends are there for you, often without asking. When you're scheduled for surgery, true friends are there to provide care, support, and prayer. When you find out you have cancer, true friends aren't frightened by the diagnosis. They may not know what to do or say, but they refuse to allow their inadequacies to keep them away. As the Scriptures remind us: Friends love through all kinds of weather. (Prov. 17:17 MSG)

I admire the special people -- family members, close friends, or old friends from high school -- who put their lives on hold to help someone they love. Emotional and spiritual ties bind people together in supernatural ways.

It's also important to note that there are good friends who, for whatever reason, can't be there for a loved one during times of great need. These friends will still make their caring concern known in other ways, by sending cards and letters or making unexpected phone calls.

But many people don't have as much control over time as they would like to think they do. Responsibilities to others can't always be put aside. Just because key friends are unable to be there for a patient doesn’t mean that they don't care deeply.

Real friends walk in, whether it's close at hand or from a distance -- and you've walked in. Good for you. And may God bless your efforts.

True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost. -- Charles Caleb Colton

Excerpt from The Art of Caregiving by Rev. Dr. Michael Barry published in May 2007.

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