When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is a Friend?

I have been able to use the internet for many things.  I blog, I facebook, I research, I write, I learn.  They are all wonderful things for me to be able to do.  I must say that I love the ability to research and find the answers to nearly any question (although, I will be the first to admit that you need to check your sources carefully). 
That being said, one of the things that I have been most appreciative of is the ability of the internet to help me find people.  I have found many wonderful people who have meant a great deal to me at different times in my life.  I have been able to reconnect in many ways.  Sometimes it is just a Christmas card, or a facebook status, sometimes it is more meaningful to both of us. 
However, I have to admit, that along with the pleasures has come a little pain.  I was able to find someone that I had thought of many times through the years.  We used to be best friends.  I spent time at her house, she occasionally spent time at mine.  We shared, we trusted, we played, we gossipped, we cared for each other. 
Then boys entered the picture and things changed.  Overtime, we drifted apart.  We both married and moved to other States and other locations.  We kept in touch for awhile, but then addresses were lost, and there was no way to contact each other any more. 
Enter the internet.
One of our mutual friends found me on facebook.  I started communicating and found her through him.  I was so excited.  Through our writing, we set up a time to talk on the phone.  We talked that one time and she told me that she lost touch because, when I was a teenager, I was always so needy.  That hurt, that really hurt!  It made me so sad that someone I remembered with gladness, didn't see and remember me the same way. 
It has been a couple of years since that conversation, and I have had a long time to think about it.  No excuses here, because she was actually right.  During the time that I thought we were friends, I was needy.  I didn't have many friends, I did not have a close family.  There were a lot of pretty bad things going on in my life.  So I am pretty sure that I was clingy, and moody, and probably very, very needy. 
But, in reflecting on this, I have come to realize that perhaps we all are.  There are times in our lives when each one of us is in difficulty and trials.  When we need others there to help lift us up and carry us through on part of our journey.  That is one of the reasons that we each need friends in our lives. 
Friends help us to feel useful, loved, cared for, and complete.  They help us to see ourselves through slightly different eyes.  They teach us to be social, adaptable, and helping individuals.  Friendship teaches us to give and to take at different times.  I think it teaches us to be more Christlike and Sisterlike in our relationships with others.  Friendship brings us so many blessings.  I am grateful that she was willing to be a friend at a time in my life when I needed someone to be there for me.  I am also sorry that she was unable to look through the years and find the me that I have become. 
I have discovered through this simple, hurtful moment, that I have indeed, come a very long way.  I am not the young girl that I was then.  I have endured the hurts that life has handed me, I have learned from the experiences and grown in courage and conviction through the years.  I know and believe in myself.  Best of all, I now know that my Heavenly Father loves me, He knows exactly who I was then, and who I have become. 
I have also learned that we can never completely erase on our own past.  We need the Lord to do that for us.  I can't fix the person that I used to be.  I can only change the person I am today.  I want to be the person that people remember with love.  I want to be someone that people want to be friends with, someone they want to be around. Those things I can do now, here, today.   Today, I have learned to be a better friend. 
Elder Ronald A. Rashband, while speaking at a CES fireside, said:
"It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of being good friends. Becoming such friends is not always easy. Ralph Waldo Emerson gave great counsel when he observed, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”  And the old cliché “Birds of a feather flock together” is still true. To have friends who live high standards, who stand for virtue and goodness, who are faithful and true to their covenants, you must be such a person to them.

In this world where there is so much sleaze, permissiveness, and immorality, having good friends will go a long way in ensuring our ability to withstand the evils of this, our day".
It was the Savior who said to His disciples, “Ye are my friends” (D&C 84:63).
It was the Savior who taught his Apostles, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
It was the Savior who beckoned all to: “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28). I
It was the Savior who reminded Joseph Smith while he was in the liberty jail, “Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands” (D&C 121:9).

Jesus Christ is our example in every part of the Gospel as well as in the ways that we should lead our lives, and that includes friendship.

May we each go forth today and be better friends to those around us.  May we truly change from who we were, to who we need to be.  


  1. I love your perspective on even the painful things in life. You inspire me so much, Patty Ann. I was just musing over at Sarah's {This Heavenly Life} about how much I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions and wisdom. :)

  2. Thanks for your post. I know what it feels like to need a little boost from others. It is sad that your friend did not respond in a positive way. Ouch.
    I am trying to teach my girls and my boys that friends are here today, but may not be tomorrow. It was true for me.
    Those first scary steps onto the college campus or that new job are usually taken solo.
    The wedding showers come and go and then life rolls on. The friends are just not the people that stand there through the good and the bad.
    I have found my Father in Heaven in my corner through the darkest nights when no human comfort could be found. Even when people do their best they are still people. People are at best imperfect.
    I too am so thankful for the tender mercy given to us by our Father in Heaven. I could not do it alone. The load is just too heavy. But, I can do what I need to do while he carries me.


  3. I always love reading your blog posts because I learn so much. It was fun to read about your growth through the years. We all change and grow and have the opportunity to be friends or learn from friends. Thanks for being an internet friend :)

  4. I think we've all been needy at one time or another in our lives. Too bad your friend couldn't see that there might be a day when she'd be the needy one and you could be there for her--if she'd kept in touch!

    I think in all my friendships, few are equal partnerships all the time. In some friendships, I give more and am relied on more. In others, I'm more often the receiver of a friend's largesse and wisdom. Then another season of life hits, and we might switch roles! But I believe God definitely created us to be in relationship--we need each other. That's the bottom line!

  5. "A friend is someone who understands your past,
    Believes in your future,
    And accepts you today just the way you are."

  6. I know we only met in person once, but you have been a wonderful friend to me, reaching out in so many ways. I really like the person you have become! Friends who accept us and our needs are so important. Thank you for being that for me and I hope you have lots of friends there for you!

  7. Thank you so much to each one of you! I couldn't agree with you more. Your support and encouragement is amazing! I hope each of you find friends along the way that speak to your heart and make your journey a little easier. I also hope that I can choose to be that kind of friend.

  8. What an honest and open post. I hope all of us have come along ways since grade school.I like that you made the situation positive instead of staying hurt from it. That is such a good example.

  9. I too, was just like you "back in the day". :) And I had a friend like that as well who was brutally honest with me a decade later after reconnection. And you are right, the growth we see in ourselves after realizing who we were and who we have become is an amazing gift. Thank you for reminding me of it. You are amazing. :)