Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Elsie taught me something about friendship today.

Though Elsie (our yellow Lab puppy) rough houses and races with Baxter, our adolescent Lab, and though the two of them spend hours outdoors enjoying each other's company, when it comes to finding a snuggle companion Elsie prefers Ridge. Ridge is the older-wiser of the crew. At four years of age, he's the grownup. I'm not sure why Elsie prefers him at sleep time, but it's been that way since she came to our home.

It seems like Elsie has two kinds of friends: Baxter, the fun friend, the peer with whom she plays and teases and giggles (do dogs giggle?) and Ridge, the friend with whom she feels secure.

Again I marvel at how our canine companions reflect our human lives. I have friends with whom I laugh and play. I also have friends with whom I wrestle through life's issues. And then there are friends to whom I turn for comfort and reassurance. And, though few and far between, I have friends who can be all of these things and more.

Unlike Elsie, I've been blessed with companions who can fill these roles for me simultaneously: individuals who can be my playmates, my counselors, my comforters, and my safe havens, all wrapped up into one. These are my lifetime friends, my eternal friends, the ones who love me warts and all. The one's with whom I laugh and feel safe.

Elsie reminds me, however, that even with these friends--the friends who can be all things to me--there is a season for everything: for laugher, for play, for work, for discussion, for rest, for encouragement, and yes, even for tears. There may even be times to just be still and enjoy being together.

As I think about my friendships (and Elsie's "friendships" with Baxter and Ridge), I'm reminded that it's been too long since we (my buds and I) hung out together and did nothing. I'm also reminded that too much time has passed since we just had fun! I think it may be time to schedule some "do nothing" time. And maybe we'll laugh together along the way. :o)

I'm also reminded of how little I've given thanks for my friends. I'm grateful for comrades who meet different needs in my life. I'm grateful for what I learn from each. And I'm particularly thankful for those rare few that serve as Baxter AND Ridge and all those other roles to me.

How easy it is to take them for granted. Well, today, thanks to Elsie's reminder, I'm grateful for each one.

Thanks, Elsie. And thanks, my friends (you know who you are).

'Til next time,

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