The hit show 'Friends' summed up what we all want - people who know us and still love us - in other words, friends.
We refer to many people as friends who are really acquaintances but friends, true friends, are something very special.
Let's stop and think for just a moment about when we last exerted ourselves for someone else's benefit. Not the work we get paid to do but the work we don't get paid to do and do not have to do. Are we proud of the score?
I've just moved from a home of 28 years, and the enormity of the task is hard to describe. Without help, and lots of it, I wouldn't have made it. My best friends simply showed up to pack and move box after box. The move lasted far longer than the one day when New Bell Mayflower moved the furniture (a very pleasant experience, by the way).
It occurs to me often how much I have received from my real friends over many years and how inadequate I feel to repay them. While friends do not help one another expecting payback, it would be comforting to be able to return extraordinary favors such as receiving help when moving. John Thompson joked that he'd better plan to move soon while we are young enough to help him. The way we feel right now, it is already too late for that!
What we can do is help whomever. Yes, whoever needs our help. Just pass it on.
The movie Pay It Forward addresses the concept beautifully. Haley Joel Osment is the magnificent child actor discovering the joy of helping others and simply asking them to 'pay it forward.' Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt play his teacher and his mother in this inspiring film.
Let's stop and think for just a moment about when we last exerted ourselves for someone else's benefit. Not the work we get paid to do but the work we don't get paid to do and do not have to do. Are we proud of the score? How many people have helped us move, for instance, and how many people have we helped move?
These are questions we need to ask ourselves frequently. It doesn't have to be a move; that's just the gold standard. There are many opportunities to help others every day. Sometimes just an encouraging word can be an important gift.
Some of my new neighbors took the time to come by on move-in day to say welcome, and Rebecca Riley even made us a peach pie! Those acts of kindness from people who were strangers let us know they care just when we need it most.
We go along day after day in our own little worlds until we really, truly need friends to help us. That's when we realize how fortunate we are to have real friends. This is when I take inventory on being a friend as well.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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