Blessed by true friends
By Jackie Morfesis
I love and hunger for God’s Holy Word. Because of this, I frequently look to scripture in my day-to-day life to relate and reference my experiences. Most recently, I had one of the most harrowing and difficult days of my life resulting from a recent head injury, which subsequently caused a traumatic injury to my jaw. Fortunately, it was not broken, but resulted in among the worst agonizing physical pain I have ever experienced.
On the day when I visited an oral surgeon for evaluation and treatment, I was not able to take care of myself. I could do nothing of value. For this reason, I depended solely on my friends. This brings me to Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which speaks of the value of friends:
“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
From the morning when I awoke till that evening, it was as if I was surrounded by a legion of angels who comforted, lifted, and protected me. Let me explain. On this day, I was referred to the best oral surgeon and facial pain doctor. On this day, my neighbors brought me crackers and ginger-ale. On this day, my other neighbors, a husband and wife, drove me to the doctor’s office and brought me home. On this day, I had numerous phone calls of support and prayer. One prayer said to me over the phone for healing by two dear friends poured such peace over me that I was able to bear the car ride to the doctor’s office.
Prior to this day, two friends who were aware of my accident and my subsequent change to a liquid diet till my jaw recovers, brought me grocery bags filled with soft foods, soup, and canned fruit. Two friends also met me at the emergency room on a night of pain escalation. I cannot forget my constant and faithful Yorkie companion, my sweetheart, who knew I was in pain and never left my side.
This experience, which I am still moving through at the time of this writing, would have been a completely different experience without friends. I cannot even imagine how I could have moved through this nor the outcome. Friends do not only provide us with the most practical support during the difficult times in our lives, but they also minister to us with spiritual and emotional support. Friends are the hands and feet of our Lord.
Especially now, in a world when words have become diluted and at times feel meaningless, we would be best served by meditating on the true meaning of friendship. One way to do so would be to begin on what a true friend is not. A true friend is not the hundreds or thousands of “friends” we may have on social media. Nor is a true friend someone who calls themselves a friend in name only. Nor someone who has no interest to hear your voice or see you or welcome or extend hospitality to you. Nor is a true friend one who is only interested in us or our life when we have no troubles, and everything is going well.
A true friend is the one who, as we are told in the Bible, lifts us up when we fall, defends us in our battles, and provides comfort. A true friend does not forsake us in our sufferings, but draws near, much like our Lord. A true friend will sacrifice, put on hold, and rearrange their day to respond to a friend in need.
A true friend remembers. This is a very simple concept but, as we know, sometimes difficult to do. Here is what I mean by remember. Remembering to phone. Remembering to send a card. Remembering to not abandon when crisis, trauma, accident or illness strike. Remembering not to abandon us when tragedy strikes our lives through any manner of means even those which result in our fall from grace in the public eye. Remembering to support us and not turn our backs on us when our lives turn in the “blink of an eye,” as taught to me by my maternal grandfather George Manos.
Many years ago, a friend of mine from undergraduate college told me something I have always remembered. He said if you can count on even one hand the number of true friends you have than you are wealthy beyond compare. I am a wealthy person. I am blessed.
Jackie Morfesis is an author, advocate and creative artist. She holds a BFA in fine arts and an MA in liberal studies and is a former Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar to Greece. She is a Greek Orthodox Christian and devoted to spiritual matters.