"The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it." —-Hubert H. Humphrey
Who’d have thunk it??? It turns out the 38th Vice President of the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson and Democratic nominee for President in 1968 (he lost to Nixon) and I have something in common! Like Hubert H. Humphrey, I have been lucky enough to receive the gift of friendship.
Though Facebook leads us to believe that more friends are better, I’m always one to go for quality over quantity. And the older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate friends that I have known for years.
You know the friends I mean—the ones you can’t put anything past, because well, they were there when it happened. Maybe you grew up together; or maybe you asked them to be in your wedding party and swore that they would get “lots of use" out of the bridesmaid dresses, though everyone knew that would never happen. The friend who was pregnant at the same time and listened to your hopes, fears and dreams for your child. The friend who held your hand as you cried because you had a heart so heavy you were convinced it was truly breaking.
Thoughts of friendship were swirling in my head recently. Someone had asked me how long I had known my dear friend Val, and when I did the math, I was stunned to realize the answer was EIGHTEEN YEARS. Eighteen years?!?! Our friendship was old enough to vote! And since I had met Val at the same time I meant Ellen, it meant I’d also been friends with Ellen for eighteen years. Yikes! Where does the time go?
Since I happened to be meeting Val and Ellen later that week for a long overdue dinner, I wanted a small token to mark the anniversary of our friendship. I wanted a small token to celebrate our friendship and let them so how much they mean to me. (On a side note, at every funeral I've ever been to, someone always says: "I never told him how much I loved him when he was alive, and now I will never have the chance.” Here’s a newsflash: we are ALL going to die. Tell people how much they matter to you. Now.)
I ended up selecting a book called “365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts”. It’s a collection of “quotes and wise words, one for every day of the year." I got three books—one for Val, one for Ellen and one for me. In theory, each of us will read the same thought on the same day; in reality, we’ll read them when we remember. Kind of dorky, but kind of cool to think that an inspirational thought will touch each of us at a similar time. I included a darling bookmark to easily find where you left off and because…well… it was just that cute! Val and Ellen have different tastes, so I wrapped the books to reflect their individual styles.
As our drinks arrived at the table, I had them simultaneously open the books and read the inscription. We toasted to our friendship and looked forward to eighteen years being just the beginning.
I suspect you too have something in common with Hubert Humphrey. Please don’t wait to thank your friends for the gift of friendship. It’s one gift that’s truly priceless.