Studies show that most people have one or two best friends all their lives, if they’re fortunate. My best friend was Bob. I know I’ll have a difficult time with the absence he’s ever-grinning, jovial countenance. I’ll probably never have another best friend like him. I only have one left, my wife, Marlene. I lament Bob’s loss, not only bewailing the fact that he won’t be able to enjoy this life like he used to, but also, I admit, more than he can know, I’ve got to live without that one special friend. Everyone should have a peer friend, someone with similar interests, compatible goals, a circumstantial connection and similar values. Bob and I were best friends for over 50 years. He was the best man at my wedding and I at his.
So what does it mean to have a best friend? Everyone needs someone to talk to, someone you can tell anything to unrehearsed and unedited, someone you know won’t judge you while you’re confessing your inner feelings and emotions. When we were younger we’d huddle together and I’d bemoan my shyness and then I loved to hear Bob’s stories. He was always popular and I’d love to hear about the new girl he went out with and why she just wasn’t the right one for him. Then we’d bounce off ideas between us not worrying about being ridiculed by the other. That’s a best friend!
Everyone craves and needs unconditional love. That’s a caring for a person so deeply that he is not automatically judged by his outward circumstances. It means hoping for and believing in the other. I could say to Bob, and he in turn could say to me, “I believe in you, I know you can do it.” And we both really meant it. Each person has a self-worth independent of what he has accomplished thus far in life, a worth based upon the belief he is a child of God. Unconditional love means hoping and believing in one’s friend. That’s a best friend, a special friend.
The last time I saw him was when I invited him to a football game, not his favorite pastime and especially since this was a few weeks before his health gave out. He was weak but he came because we loved each others’ company. The Bible in Proverbs 18:20 admonishes to be thankful for “A friend closer than a brother.” I had that. I read 1 Samuel about the story of the future King David and his best friend, Jonathan, of whom it is written, “Jonathan began to love him (David) as his own soul.” And proved it by risking is life for his friend. I had that kind of friend.