I've had plenty of opportunity in the past year to experience the value of friendship. I have a pile of greeting cards about 10 inches high that testify to the way friends can touch us when we need to be touched. Each one is special to me and I can't throw them away. I'm not sure the people who sent them realize how much a card means to someone who's sick, or scared, or grieving, but they sometimes mean the difference between making it through a rough patch with a little less pain. Just knowing that people care makes such a difference.
It's interesting how something like illness can separate the people who truly care from the ones who are simply vaguely interested in us. Friends - true friends - were there for me in more ways than I can count. They took me to doctor's visits, they invited me to their homes, they told me they cared and showed it by bringing meals and sending flowers. Even some from distant places were attentive and concerned and that remains indelibly imprinted in my mind - I'll never forget any of their kindnesses.
Friends are what make life wonderful. Family and friends are what allow us to live it with joy.