On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, episodes of The Joy Of Painting with Bob Ross are run on a cable channel in our area called “Create.” I watch the show with my youngest son, as I not only enjoy (and practice!) the style of painting that Bob Ross taught and promoted, but I also enjoy the relaxing, easy style in which he teaches and does his show. (If you have never seen an episode of Bob Ross’ shows, or do not know who he is, I would heartily recommend you do so as soon as you can. In a hectic, insane world such as ours, he is a welcome break and breath of relaxing, fresh air.)
In many of his shows, as he is painting in a tree, he will include another tree, along with this statement; “Let’s give him a little friend.” This morning, as I was watching the show, it occurred to me how important that idea is; the idea of having a friend, and also what our society has done to the concept. Hence, this blog post. I hope you find it worthwhile to read.
If you were to look up the definition of the word “friend,” you would find (or at least I did, anyway) two main ones; one a noun, and one a verb. The noun version says this: “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” The verb says this: “add (someone) to a list of contacts associated with a social networking website.” Quite a difference, isn’t there? To me, it illustrates the watering down of the word that has occurred in our age of Facebook/Twitter/social networking in general. It becomes more obvious when you consider quotations on friends such as these:
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell
“A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.” – Len Wein
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson
(Ouch! That last one hurt, eh, in our world in which getting rid of “a friend” is as easy as clicking the “un-friend” button)
As you go through your day today, I encourage you to take some time to look up what exactly being a “friend” meant in the classic sense, and to consider those people in your life who you truly would consider to be your friend, as opposed to people who you may have “friend-ed” or who would more be an acquaintance. Do you have even one such person in your life? If you do, it is said, you have not only a great treasure, but “more than your share,” according to Thomas Fuller. Friends aren’t like shoes, clothes, or “things.” The wealth comes not from the accumulation of them – but from the quality.
God bless today, my friend!