Sunday, March 9, 2014

Be a Friend, Call a Friend

Helping a friend
Helping a friend (Photo credit: Daniel Veazey)

The heart is delighted by the fragrance of oil and sweet perfumes,
    and in just the same way, the soul is sweetened by the wise counsel of a friend.

Proverbs 27:9

The Voice (VOICE)

       This past week I received the sad news that an old friend of mine had taken his life.  He had suffered for the past several years with Parkinson's disease.   Apparently the effects of the disease had caused so much suffering and had gotten him so depressed that ending his own life seemed like the only solution for him.

       Since my friend lived far from where I now live I did not keep up with him.  I would usually call him when I would go back to visit my mother and we would have a breakfast together.  That might have been perhaps once or, at the most, twice a year.  I think I called him on the phone once a few years ago.  But honestly, I did not stay in touch with him very well.

        He had many friends nearby, but I don't know how often any of them stayed in touch either.  It seems for some of us as we get older and have jobs and more family obligations, keeping up with our friends of youth is something we neglect.  These are the days when friendships can be more important to us.  As we grow older, if we don't have much family around and don't keep active in social settings, it can be easy to become alienated and alone.

        Strangely, my friend had been on my mind a lot of late.  I had missed getting together with him on my last visit home.  I thought several times about calling him just to catch up with how he was doing in his life.  Just one of those get to it later things.  My intent was there, but my action was lacking.

         I don't know if I would have made much difference in his decision to end his life.   I'm not even sure if any of our mutual friends had been keeping up with him.  I don't know anything about what was going on in the lives of my friend and his wife.  Still, if I had called him to offer a few words of encouragement and support, maybe it could have made a difference.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

New International Version (NIV)

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  1. Sometimes we help them up by not helping them.

  2. I followed this link from Jerry's post over at A Sunday Drive. I'm so sorry about your friend. I've had occasions where I couldn't save a friend or student (I worked at a college at one time), and I've also had times when I could step in.

    One friend who was suicidal called me and told me she was and then said, "Please know, if I do this, there is nothing you could have done differently."

    Her story had a happy ending, I'm glad to say. That was 20 years ago and she is alive, well and happy today. But sometimes, I think that really is the truth.

  3. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend.


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