A lot can be said about good friendships. There are just some people in this world who we meet and they stick with us. Real friends have helped each other, fought each other, disagreed with each other, and stood by each other through myriad situations. These friendships can happen in a week or over the past 30 years. Some friends come into, and stay in, your life due to specific shared situations. Many times you can be separated from your friends for weeks, months, or years, yet the next time you see them it is like hardly a moment has passed.
I have watched my father, who is a Colorado native, live in Mississippi away from his friends and immediate family my entire life. I have also spent these 40 years watching him foster one of the most amazing friendships of which I know. The man in the picture above is my father’s best friend, Ray. I even share his name as my middle name. They have known each other since high school. They have lived through decades of joys and tragedies together. They call each other to check in at random intervals, often to make a joke at the other’s expense. In a financially questionable deal, they have also had a longstanding continuous bet involving the Denver Broncos season record vs. the New Orleans Saints season record. That bet alone has created many laughs, empty wallets, and a host of jokes between the two during the seasons through the years. I have made some very good friends through the years, but theirs has always been my gold standard.
Just yesterday I was at work and feeling a little down. Not depressed, but unsettled with my day as it had unfolded to that point. I managed to get off work in time to watch the 2nd half of the New Orleans Saints game with a group of my friends, of which I have known between this past year and all the way to over 30 years. There was an immediate release of my inner funk. I felt a catharsis and serenity while living in the moment with these people as we watched our football team try to win the game. It made me cherish that time even more because I realized that I have the opportunity to see my friends on a fairly regular basis should I so choose. My father and Ray have not had that opportunity.
There is not really a closing point to this because all of it is still happening. So go find the people in your life and keep making good, deep friendships. Play a little joke on your friends. Buy them a 6-pack of their favorite beer for no reason, but only give them 5 because you drank one. Foster that friendship with someone who knows you so well that they can get under your skin, in a good way, from 6 states away. Find yourself a Ray.