My Very Special Friend
I have waited until this point in time to speak of my most wonderful friend, my life’s companion for nearly 50 years, my wife Audrey.
The experience of true friendship is one of life’s most treasured gifts: the enjoyment of shared interests and pleasures, the development of deeper levels of understanding and communication, the standing together at times of crisis and suffering, all this and much more.
In the book of Ecclesiaticus it [Eccelsiastes it] is recorded …… “A faithful friend is the medicine of life”.
Friendship is not something about which we can learn rules. Friendship and loving are arts, but not some kind of commercial art so we can impress people. Friends are free individuals who risk being themselves with each other – people who share their uniqueness and delight in seeing each other grow as a result of their shared relationship. No real and lasting friendship just happens, it is built. Throughout our 50 years Audrey and I have developed a strong relationship built on three essential qualities.
1. GIVING. Audrey is not someone who meets my needs but the one whose needs I can meet.
2. VARIETY. Encompassing the breadth of interest that we share.
3. ENCOURAGEMENT. Audrey has always been there for me when life was tough, giving help and support but helping me look away from the difficulties to an all-sufficient God.
As I draw near to ending this story oy [of] my life I honour Audrey for all that she has been to me and our extended family.
Another Special Friend.
It has been said ‘a man with few friends is only half developed; there are whole sides of his nature which are locked up and have never been expressed. He cannot unlock them himself, he cannot even discover them; friends alone can stimulate him and open him.’
I have found such a friend in Jim Stewart whom I met because of our common love of photography. At the time of meeting I was soon to conduct the wedding of Sandy Longman. Their neighbour Jim had been asked to take the wedding photographs and since I had photographed many weddings we met together to chat over all the pros and cons.
Thus our friendship began some ten years ago and we have enjoyed the pleasure of each others company ever since. We have shared many meaningful hours together dining, chatting, praying, attending exhibitions of art and photography and sharing many personal aspects of our lives. I thank God for Jim a loyal and trusted friend.