Diffuse Reflections
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The Friend I Needed

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” ~ Proverbs 17:17

Many years ago, I had just begun attending a Roman Catholic school for boy’s. I was a chubby, awkward, uncool, eleven year-old boy, struggling to navigate the macho world that exists in an all-male educational institution in an already super macho society.

Very quickly, I started hating school; it was just too hard to fit in. To make things worse, it was also hard to fit in with the boys in the community where I lived. As an overweight bookworm, I just did not have the skills (sports, toughness, womanizing) that were valued.

Then came Richard.

Richard was in my class at school and lived near to me. He recognized me one morning while I was waiting for a bus, and his father stopped and offered me a ride to school with them. I barely recognized him from class at the time, but gladly accepted the ride to school.

That day we became friends, Richard and I. And for the next six years we did almost everything together (yes, good things and bad things).

For most of those years, Richard was not just my best friend: he was my ONLY friend.

I remember when I lost a fight at school with one of the cool football players, and was the butt of all my peers jokes; Richard still walked with me and rode the bus home with me. No matter what happened, Richard never made fun of me or thought I was just too uncool to hang out with.

Buzz & Woody

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” ~ Proverbs 17:17

Eventually, I would emerge (somewhat) from my social awkwardness and discomfort into the person I am now… but Richard had become my friend and had accepted me when I was uncool.

Richard’s family have been a blessing to me too.

When I tore my pants at school and needed a ride home, I called Richards dad. And he took me home.

When I injured my spine after a bad fall, it was Richard’s mom who took me to get X-rays.

Richard and his sisters invited me to youth fellowship at their church. I went, and kept going and started going to their church too.

One day, Richard’s eldest sister told me that he had given his life to Christ at a crusade the night before (for some reason, I hadn’t talked with him much that day). She then encouraged me to consider doing the same. So I did… and my whole life changed.

After some months, Richard and I were baptized together. And later that same day, we graduated from high school together.

Eventually, our paths did separate a bit, but the bond of friendship remained strong.

I know it is God who has been guiding my life, but I also know He sent a friend for me when I was a confused and lonely eleven year-old. And He used that friend and that friendship to rescue me. I will be forever grateful.

Friendship is a priceless gift
That cannot be bought or sold.
But its value is far greater
Than a mountain made of gold.

For gold is cold and lifeless;
It can neither see nor hear.
And in the time of trouble,
It is powerless to cheer

It has no ears to listen;
No heart to understand.
It cannot bring you comfort,
Or reach a helping hand.

So when you ask God for a gift,
Be thankful that he sends
Not diamonds pearls or riches,
But the love of real, true friends.

by Helen Steiner Rice

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” ~ Proverbs 17:17

Rest in Peace my Brother.

Proverbs 17-17 v2

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