The scriptures define “friend” in Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loveth at all times.” What a lovely definition! When I looked up what a friend is in the scriptures, this is what I found: “Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.” (D & C 121:9)
I love the thought that my friends will stand by me with friendly hands, ready to help and support me if need be. Peter tells us to “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” (I Peter 3:8)
To me, having compassion for another is true friendship. John compares what the greatest love of all really is when he wrote, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
During a time of combat, a young soldier demonstrated what true friendship really is. He asked his commanding officer if he could rescue one of his comrades who was severely wounded.
The officer narrowed his eyes and stood a while in thought. Frowning, he said, “I’ll give you permission, but it’s not worth it. Your friend is probably dead, and you’ll be putting your own life at risk.”
Feeling the responsibility for his friend, the young soldier saluted and then proceeded on his way. He went from bush to bush, dodging bullets as he ran, and finally managed to get to his friend. He spoke a few words to his buddy and then carefully hoisted him over his shoulder and brought him back to the trench.
The officer inspected the wounded soldier and then shook his head with grief. “Your friend’s dead.” When he noticed a red stain on the young man’s shirt, he added, “And you’re wounded. I told you it wouldn’t be worth it.”
The young soldier looked into his officer’s eyes and answered, “It was worth it, Sir.”
“What do you mean worth it? You’re wounded and it was all for nothing.”
“No, sir. It was worth it because when I knelt down beside my friend, he said to me, ‘I knew you’d come.’”
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anais Nin (1903-1977)
Friendship is a most precious gift that will endure the eternities. To have a friend that we can share our innermost thoughts with is worth more than wealth or material objects. To have a friend that we can laugh and cry with, someone who accepts us no matter our faults or circumstances…this makes life worth living.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) said: “Many people will walk in and out of your life. But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”
Footprints in your heart! What a lovely thought! Friends can cheer us when we need encouragement and help us when we’re depressed. They can embrace us when we weep and laugh at a lame joke we’ve told. We should be able to say, “Because of our association with one another, I’m a better person having known you.”
Elizabeth Mauske told a story about an unusual friendship between her mother and a native Indian woman from Central America. The Indian woman visited their home often. The lovely colorful clothing and coin necklaces the woman wore fascinated Elizabeth. She noticed her copper bracelets as they softly jingled on her arm and her sweet sincere smile. With each visit, she would give her mother some partridge eggs and berries as a gift.
The Indian woman only spoke Araucanian and her mother only spoke Spanish. Their conversation was minimal, but they would sit at the table, drinking tea and eating cake together. They seemed to enjoy one another’s company.
Elizabeth noticed each time the Indian woman would rise to leave that she would say the exact same words. With great curiosity, Elizabeth and her sisters memorized the phrase and quickly found someone who could translate Araucanian for them. When she found out what the Indian woman had said, she was greatly touched and said it was one of the nicest compliments anyone could have given her mother.
As the Indian woman rose from the table, she said, “I shall come again, for I like myself when I am near you.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could say this about others? After spending the day with a dear friend, we would say, “I can’t wait until our next visit because you make me feel good about myself.”
Sydney Smith (1771-1845) said, “Life is to be fortified by many friendships. To love, and to be loved, is the greatest happiness of existence.”
The Lord said, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Have you had a friend that made a difference in your life? Have you had a friend who left footprints in your heart? Take the time to tell them today.