“For we may promise ourselves a great deal of comfort in a true friend.” – Matthew Henry
A couple of months ago, I finished a book by Erick Erickson titled “Before You Wake”. Erickson is a talk show host out of Atlanta and conservative commentator. The book essentially consists of ten letters that include a mix of advice, both practical and spiritual, and other words of wisdom designed for Erickson’s children. One of the “letters” is actually a chapter full of his favorite recipes (!). The beauty of these letters is that they apply not just to children but everyone. I especially liked his final chapter, which included odds and ends of things that he wanted his children to know, but wouldn’t necessarily stand alone as a full chapter. Here are some examples from that chapter that resonated with me:
“People are sinners. They are bound to disappoint. Forgive them when they do, but never expect to be forgiven.”
“Take long walks alone, turn off the music, and talk to God. He’s ready to listen.”
“Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Do not expect fairness in this world and do not expect unfairness in the next.
“It is vastly easier to be dismissive of someone than it is to understand them. That does not make it right to dismiss them.”
These types of quick hits from Erickson that made up the final chapter was probably my favorite section of the book. It also caused me open up Proverbs and I found myself at the familiar words in chapter 18:
A man of many companions may be ruined,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
– Proverbs 18:24 (WEB)
Erickson’s book was sent to me by my dear friend Buffy. When I was first thinking about transitioning into librarianship from IT support about twelve years ago, Buffy was one of the main people who inspired me to do so. Her blog was where I really first benefited from her wisdom and learned what it might be like to work as a librarian, and this was long before we became friends. Since then she has continued to inspire me with what she does on a daily basis as an educator and I’ve tried (however faintly) to incorporate how she thinks and what she does into my own practices. More than all that, though, Buffy is a like-minded soul. We were raised in the same time period with similar values and it has been great for me to know someone like her who can sympathize that there is a way to do things in this world, and certain things are right and certain things are wrong. There is simply too much gray now where there wasn’t before, regardless of what this world tries to tell us each day (which was a main theme of Erickson’s as well). We’ve also talked often about what it’s like to be a person of faith and to follow Christ in these days. I have gone through some ups and downs and major life events over the last few years (with another one on-deck!) and Buffy’s encouragement and prayers through these have been invaluable to me.
So while I really enjoyed Erickson’s book and learned a great deal through it, I am even more thankful for the friend who sent it to me. In commenting on Proverbs 18:24, Matthew Henry remarked that “we may promise ourselves a great deal of comfort in a true friend”. I have found this to be the case with my dear friend Buffy, and thank God for her. I can think of few people who I treasure more as a friend!