Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Kind of Friend Am I?

It's only 11 days into the new year, and I am already soul searching and evaluating mistakes.  Someone who used to work with me passed away in December from a rare form of cancer, and I found out about it this morning.  He didn't develop cancer until after he left our place of employment.  I haven't seen this man since he left the workplace, but I have thought about him occasionally.

Unfortunately, this young man was very unhappy.  I tried to be a friend to him.  We often ate our lunch together in the break room.  I tried to brighten his unhappy outlook on life.  Nothing I did seemed to work.  He was intent on being unhappy, and always seeing black clouds instead of silver linings.  I felt sorry for him.

There came a day when I realized that trying to put a smile on his face was making me frown.  It seemed nothing I did or said made a difference in his life, but he was pulling me down.  So I began to find something else to do during my breaks, and someone else to be with during lunch.  He was a "drag," or a "downer."

He was 33 years old when he passed away.  I'm sad today.  I'm sad that he had an unhappy life -- or at least he couldn't share his happiness with others.  I'm sad that I gave up on friendship with him.  I shouldn't have done that.  I should have tried harder.  Maybe I should have shared with him how I was feeling about his attitude.  Maybe I could have found a way to make a difference.  Could I have brightened his time on this earth just a little?  Would that have been too great a sacrifice?  What more could I have done to help him?  What more could I have done to be a friend?

The truly haunting question is, where would I be if the Saviour ever gave up on me?  I'm sure I was a "drag," and a "downer," in the Garden of Gethsemane.  How many drops of blood did He sacrifice for me?  I'm guilty of giving up on one of Heavenly Father's children -- because it was easier than working with him to help him solve his problems.  What kind of Christian does that make me?  Not a very good one, I'm sure.

What will I do the next time someone passes through my life?  How will I respond?  Will I be a better friend?  Will I learn something from this experience?  I certainly hope so.

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