Friends

Don’t you love how daydreams eventually turn to morality plays?

Was thinking this morning. What would I do if I won the lottery?

We had a conversation like this not long ago, when the lottery winnings were in the billions. I knew I had a snowball in hell’s chance of matching even one number, so that was that. But I sometimes wonder what I’d do if I really did come across an incredible amount of cash.

No doubt the first thing everyone would do would be reward yourself. You’d be a fool not to. For what you’ve put up with in your life, a paid-off mortgage or new car is definitely worth the payback.

Then comes pyramid #2. Parents, kids, sisters, brothers, cousins. Well…it depends on how close you are to your cousins. But you know what I mean.

Then comes charity. From cancer to colitis to kidney disease, there is a cause for everything. Perhaps that choice comes from some personal experience. Then again, look around you. How many personal causes are right there next to you?

Just as needy as any national charity are the friends who have stood by you year after year. Maybe your friends are all well and good. But others have seen hard times, too. We have one set of friends who have been in and out of the hospital; one is on disability, one is going to school so she can get a better job. Another couple has both the husband and wife fighting different health care issues and still working full time. A couple of friends are still paying off their “American Dream” that didn’t pan out, plunging them into bankruptcy or eternal second mortgages.  Another single friend supporting both her daughter and two elderly parents. Friends who may or may not be suffering from the aftermath of war.

These are the friends I would help out first. The friends who have a hard time walking up stairs. The friends who take medicine so their body stops hurting. The friends who have bought me coffee and talked me out of depression. The friend who texts me out of the blue and asks if I’m really doing okay. The friend that smiles and laughs through every working day.

These are the “charities”  I would help if I could. People who are doing things themselves, not asking for help, not asking for charity. People who can’t make ends meet but still manage to come up with pizza money when we all get together. Friends whose children are a little challenged, yet plow through the system with their eye on the prize just like anyone else. Friends who have nothing to offer but a smile and a hug.

Sometimes I think we underestimate the value of friends. We love them, we support them, but often are glad we’re not them. For how would we deal with such disappointment? Such pain? Such confusion? They deal with the world the same way that you and I do it. They complain, they vent, they cry, they laugh, and they move on.

Sometimes I feel so bad that I can’t make their lives easier. Better. I look at my own life. I see what makes my trials easier to bear. And you know what?

It’s the same thing that makes my friends’ lives easier.

If you can’t give them all a half million dollars, give them something even better. Give them YOU. Give them a call. Text them. Buy them a cup of coffee. Invite them over for dinner. Send them a book. Put a funny pic on their Facebook page. Do things to show them how much they mean to you.

Do it now. Don’t wait. You know that old adage….

And besides. It’s 15% off pizzas next Monday…

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