Wolf Creek Christian Writers Network

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    The Gift of Friendship by Richard Gammill

    My first season of snow and ice in Pagosa Springs began with a thud.

    One morning, I walked from our house to my little writer’s cabin, when suddenly my feet flew out from under me and I landed hard on the frozen ground. Three broken ribs.

    A few weeks later, while I was walking our dog, I slipped and fell again. More pain, but no new damage.

    A year later, I suffered a very bad fall. Seven broken ribs led to nearly two weeks in the hospital followed by months of slow, painful recovery.

    Last spring, a friend in north Texas urged me to be more careful in the coming winter. I responded, “I guess I need a pair of crampons.”

    Two weeks later, a large envelope came in the mail containing a pair of crampons. A note said, “Since we moved back here from South Fork, I don’t need these any more. Take care of yourself.”

    Now I keep those crampons in the same drawer with the dog leash. Daisy has to wait — impatiently — while I strap them on before we head out. As we walk together — safely on the compacted snow — I think about my friend’s thoughtfulness. And I think about how often over the years I have benefited from gifts of kindness from many friends.

    In this season of giving, I realize that the most meaningful of gifts is the relationships I enjoy. We were made for these relationships and without them, we would experience the deepest of poverty.

    Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (New Living Translation) states: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

    During my 12 days in the hospital last year, I was given pain medication to ease my discomfort. I experienced the greatest uplift from the family and friends, from church and the writers’ group, who came and spent time encouraging me and praying with me.

    When I put on my pair of crampons and walk safely with Daisy out over our icy roads, they are symbolic of a lifetime of having friends who have walked with me and steadied me during challenging times.

    I have a friend who “sticks closer than a brother” and I am grateful for all the other friends He has put in my life.

    We are blessed, whether it is in the giving or the receiving of our friendships.

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