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Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. I send a text out most days to some friends, colleagues & associates. It is part of my morning reflections & discipline to share something positive for the day. My text this morning to one person, & most tomorrow said:                                                                        “I went out to find a friend but could not find one. I went out to be a friend & friends were everywhere”

Imagine a day in your future my friends. You are now seventy or seventy-five, & the pace of life has slowed. You get up early in the morning & sit in your favourite chair with a cup of coffee. The house is still & silent. No one is there but you & your thoughts.

On this morning, instead of thinking about the activities for the day, you begin to reflect upon the past. You see family vacations, times with your spouse or partner, holidays spent with relatives. You have memories of your career, both rewarding & painful. It has not always been easy, & not everything turned out like you hoped, but it has been a good life.

Today one thought especially encourages you, & brings a smile to your face. You are grateful you took time to develop a handful of deep friendships. You realize on the balance sheet of life, possessing cars, houses, & toys does not add up to much. But a real friendship is of high value. It is the stuff life is made of.

The truth is I think many of us often do not do the friendship thing very well. One survey I heard of found 70 percent of people do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor. Henri Nouwen wrote, “Many in leadership are people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships.” What an indictment.

I have always had a lot of acquaintances. My relational circle has been wide, however, as I have moved around the country, many drift & become not very deep.

Somewhere along the way I managed to get it into my head you cannot (&/or should not) have close friends in your working environment. You do not want to be seen as hanging out with some members more than others. Besides, you do not want to let people peer too closely into your life & family. They might discover you do not have it all together.

So, for many years I have learned to live life by keeping everyone at a safe emotional distance. I lived in denial of any deep relational needs I had. I was quite content to skim over & focus on building my career. Then I hit my mid-forties.

Longings I had suppressed. There was something missing, & I began to feel it. I managed to get to where I just did not care what other people thought. I knew I had to go deeper in a few relationships, no matter how it was perceived.

Nevertheless, if I am going to be healthy, I will be going to need an intimate friend or two who fully know me. I need a deep friendship with someone who is not impressed with me & who is not afraid to tell me the truth. I need a handful of people who know junk about me, who know where I struggle, who know the skeletons in my closet, & who love & accept me anyway.

This kind of friendship does not happen by accident. If you have someone in your life you want to go deeper with, we should declare it! Life is too short & there is too much at stake for you to avoid this level of friendship.

Donald Miller tells the story of Jim & Janice, she was diagnosed with cancer & did not live long after her diagnosis. After her funeral, a lot of family friends gathered & shared stories & memories of times with her. “I wondered,” Miller wrote, “how much it costs to be rich in friends & how many years & stories & scenes it takes to make a rich life happen. You cannot build an end scene as beautiful as this by sitting on the couch.” [1]

No you cannot. So, start now dear reader. Build a rich life by developing a few deep friendships. Perhaps we just need to go out to be a friend & friends will be everywhere.

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next week.


[1] In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Kenn Butler
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