She knew her friend was hurting…despite brave attempts to hide her pain…despite her efforts to be sunny…she couldn’t stop the rain.


But her friend saw through her sadness…she could see the suffering in her friend’s eyes…because once a friend becomes a friend…a friend’s sorrow is difficult to disguise.


When she saw how her friend was suffering…she began to suffer too….wanting desperately to help…unsure of what to do.


For no one…not even a friend knows when or how another friend’s pain and suffering will end…and so she thought…the best thing she could do…was simply…be her friend


So she offered her friend her friendship…offered to travel with her on this journey…no matter how long…how difficult…how rough….

and she could see by the smile in her friend’s eyes…

her friendship…was enough.

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Today was a different day for Deborah and I…let me now review…

We decided to attend a funeral of a person we never knew…


To understand our reasoning…why this is not as crazy as it appears…we must take you back in time a little…back 14 and 1/2 years.


That’s when our granddaughter Ava was born…we made a plan we couldn’t resist…we would purchase a charm bracelet that, one day, she will wear upon her wrist.


The idea is to add a charm each year…representing a time, a place…a scene…we keep the bracelet with us…until she turns sixteen.


We found a jeweler, her name is Kim, we liked the tattoos she had on her arm.

We told her the story of Ava’s bracelet and she said she’d be happy to attach the charm.  


The first charm turned out beautifully…Kim’s expertise as a jeweler was quite clear…so we decided to take Ava’s bracelet and new charm back to her each year.


Now every year around the same time…just as we did the year before…we show up with bracelet and charm in hand…in front of Kim at her jewelry store.


We talk about Ava and how quickly our children and grandchildren grow…then Deborah and Kim get together to decide where the charm should go.


In the 14 years we’ve been doing this…as one year into another blends…we ceased to be jeweler and customers…and along the way we became friends.


I find it difficult to explain…as the reasons are often unclear…how a friendship can form with someone we see only once or twice a year…


But isn’t that the thing about friends…the thing that gives friendship its flair…You don’t have to see them often…to know that they are there.


We stopped by to pick up a ring Kim was fixing for Deborah the other day…and her emotions…she was unable to hide…through tears she could not control she told us her only son had died.


We did not know her son…never met him in these 14 years…
but there is something about a friendship…when a friend cries you can feel her tears.


So that’s how we ended up in the back of a church…

sitting in the very last pew….

there to support a friend…

at the funeral…

of a person we never knew.

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We'd occasionally see him on our morning walks

that’s how our friendship grew.

Now, we smile and we stop to talk…when Big John comes into view.


We chat about our families, the weather…happy to pause for a minute or two.

Happy to spend some time together…as good friends often do.


Big John likes to tell stories and give advice…because that’s what old folks do

and he has earned that right…because Big John is 82.


Underneath his stories and his bad jokes (believe me he knows a few!)

he shares with us his experiences…his knowledge…

and a bit of wisdom too.


His best advice is to be kind and find joy in all we do

because, he says, when it comes to life…we’re all just passing through.


He says you want to leave behind good memories when you bid this world adieu…

Leave a smile on your friends and family’s faces …when you’re done passing through.


And this advice as stuck with us because as Big Joh is want to do….

He likes his own advice so much….he repeats it a time or two!


But I know for myself…and I’m pretty sure that goes for Deborah too

We always leave Big John with a smile when our visits with him are through.


It’s amazing how he has enhanced our lives

though we only see him for a moment or two…

as our lives occasionally intersect…

while we’re all just passing through.


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Have you ever wondered when a friendship forms? 

When is that one moment in time when random people come together…

and their worlds begin to rhyme?


Have you ever wondered if there are people out there walking…

perhaps just around the bend 

people…we don’t know yet…who were destined to be our friends?


People who walk separately into a room…and from the moment they arrive

feel in their hearts…and souls…they’ve known each other all their lives.


Do they sense it in their greeting?

Can they see friendship in their eyes?

Is it somewhere in their smile?

Can they feel their friendship rise?


They begin to share their stories…share their feelings…share their woes…

Is it in between their laughter or their tears…Is that where friendship grows?


Or am I giving it too much thought?   Is it possible to know 

when a friendship seed is planted…when it actually begins to grow.


I suppose it doesn’t matter what feelings initially bind them

for when it comes to friends in life…we are lucky just to find them.


Lucky knowing we have old friends…we’ve had since we were young

friends who we grew up with…friends we love to be among.


And lucky knowing we can make new friends…who, when added to the old,

make our life even more meaningful…make it a wonder to behold…


Perhaps that is the beauty of friendship…

what makes it so astonishing…and sweet..

knowing we have some old friends…

some new friends…

and some friends…we’ve yet to meet.

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They met on the beach as children…too young to comprehend

the difference in their colors…and they soon became two friends.


Two lives they happily shared…two lives easily aligned

They would remain two friends forever…their two hearts intertwined.


They came together often…they laughed and cried and played

So many moments they’ve lost count…so many memories they made.


When they graduated high school they began to drift apart

both knowing, despite the distance, they remained within their hearts.


They would meet periodically through the years…and through the miles.

remembering their youth together…sharing joys and tears and smiles.


On quiet moments when apart…innocently and unplanned

they would think about that day on the beach…when their camaraderie began.


They met one last time on that same beach under a clear cerulean sky.

This meeting not as joyous…they met to say goodbye.


One friend cried as the other’s ashes were spread across the dune

thinking he will miss his friend who was taken much too soon.


One friend remained on the beach alone…and whispered his other friends name

Thinking about the ashes we leave behind…and how all their colors are the same.


And remembering back to the moment they met…

and longing for the moment when…

two old friends, now separated,

will be two friends united again.

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It’s funny how someone can light up your life as they brighten your morning too.

It’s even funnier when it’s someone you never met…someone you never knew.


I never new this little old man…never knew his name

but I’d pass him every morning as our routines were the same.


As I reached his streetlight on my walk in the ebbing of the night

I would see him at his window Illuminated by his kitchen light.


In time a kind of friendship formed between us in the dwindling of the nights.

A nod turned into a smile and then a wave when we saw each other in the lights.


This was the extent of our friendship…It’s how our pieces fit

until the day, under his streetlight, I noticed his kitchen was unlit.


It remained unlit…and it was a week later when I finally tried

to check and see how he was doing…only to find out he had died.


I think about him when I pass his house

that he was my friend I have no doubt

but I never knew how much of a friend

or how much I’d miss him

until his light went out.



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Most mornings when I walk I am fortunate to be graced

by the same rabbit…at the same time…in exactly the same place.


It’s difficult to read a rabbits feelings…they’re so quiet and reserved.

Like most creatures they don’t readily show affection…

unless affection is deserved.


When I first began to notice him…he didn’t have much to say

In fact every time he saw me coming…he’d quickly hop away.


Of course I know rabbits are silent…they do not vocalize

but rabbits have this funny way…of talking with their eyes.


So over time we’ve built a tentative trust…

for now when he sees me coming his way

he stops 

he rises up

and he looks at me…

before he hops away.


And though I’m not sure of our exact relationship…

I do have a feeling we are friends

because at the same time most every morning

he’s waiting as I round the bend.


It is a simple yet fulfilling friendship…for a human and a hare.

He seems happy when he sees me…and I’m glad to see him there.


And I know the days I don’t see him…

When he’s not there to play our little game

I am disappointed…and I wonder…

does my rabbit feel the same?


This is the extent of our friendship…

but what a wonderful way to start the day…

even if we only share a moment…

then go our separate ways.

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I’ve had many friends in my life who were older…who turned grey

We haven’t always seen eye to eye…but we love each other anyway.


I’ve had many friends in my life…who have different ways tor pray

Their God has not always been my God…but we love each other anyway.


I’ve had many friends in my life…who are lesbian…or gay

Who don’t love the way that I love…but we love each other anyway.


I’ve had many friends….I don’t always understand every word they say

and others who’s skin color is not my skin color…but we love each other anyway.


I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m the old one who’s turned grey

and I wonder how, 

over the years

despite our differences, 

we’ve all loved each other anyway…


Could it be that love looks beyonds our differences

beyond what asymmetry tears some of us apart

and instead has found a way to look straight into our hearts…


Perhaps love knows when we look beyond our different faiths, 

our different colors,

our different preferences…

our different names

When we see inside another person


all hearts look the same.

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When our heart is filled with sorrow and all we see is night

We begin to wonder…to question…if we’ll ever see the light.


If this dark cloud of sadness that surrounds us…will ever fade away.

If there will ever be a time we once again we’ll gaze upon the day.


Then somewhere in our darkness we behold a wondrous sight

as the light of one friend..one star…begins to shimmer in the night.


Before we know it another friend…another star has gleamed

and we realize, though it’s still dark, it’s not as dark as it first seemed.


Soon we notice our night is filled with stars

and we appreciate what the light of friendship can do

because without us ever noticing…

our star is shining too.


And though we understand there will forever be a darkness

accompanying what we say 

and what we do…

we also know there is enough light remaining


that will help to see us through…

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