A Faithful Friend

paul tim gradsWhen my husband Paul was fourteen, his family moved from Richmond, Virginia down yonder to Georgia. Not long after, a couple from Rochester, New York also moved to the neighborhood, bringing along their four children, including oldest son Tim.

As soon as Tim arrived he and Paul, almost the same exact age, struck up a friendship that would carry them through high school, college, eight years as roommates, then law school (for Paul), and seminary (for Tim). Countless memories, beautiful moments.

So when these two young men had their 50th birthday on the horizon, Fr. Tim’s mom and I decided to host a party, for the two of them. Their birthdays are just a few weeks apart so we settled on a date somewhere in between and invited a banquet-hall full of their close friends and family members.

It was a wonderful time, a fun celebration that really, is just a drop in the bucket of a lifetime of goodness (but awesome nonetheless). Aren’t we all blessed to be on this planet celebrating life? Isn’t it fun when we stop to acknowledge that!

We had a band and delicious food, refreshing libations and a few hours of laughter and conversation. Such memories.

As part of our party decor, Tim’s mom asked me to send her some pictures for the tables. She gathered shots of Tim over the years and I did the same for Paul. Kathy framed all the photos and each table had an 8×10 of Tim and one of Paul.

Walking through the room, looking at the photos, was beautiful and inspiring. Paul as a teenage boy playing throwing a baseball; Tim playing hockey. The boys and their dads, all together, on the day of their high school graduation. Paul holding our oldest son Ethan on the day of Fr. Tim’s ordination in Savannah; Fr. Tim receiving Holy Orders on that ordination day. A picture (a few years later) of Paul and our six children standing with Fr. Tim outside a pizza place we met him for dinner. Beautiful moments, drops in the bucket of life.

The most recent of the pictures was one I took two years ago when we were in Rome. Fr. Tim, working in Rome at the time, celebrating Mass for me and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica, standing in front of one of the side altars in the enormous church. Fr. Tim on the altar, Paul kneeling at the base.Fr. Tim and Crew

That picture strikes me, along with the thought of those long-ago teenage boys meeting for the first time in their new neighborhood in Georgia. Did they know, Tim and Paul and other men in their group still the best of friends all these years later, the depth of friendship they’d be given? That the bonds they formed as young men would carry them through so many adventures in life?

Did those boys know all the places they would go — the places they have yet to go? Could they have imagined, each one of them, where their Yes to God would take them?

Paul, an immigration attorney with a wife and six children; Fr. Tim, a holy priest. Called to vocations, in totally different ways.

What it means to have such a friend, I think when I look at these two, is beyond price.

“A faithful friend,” says my favorite scripture in Sirach, “is a sturdy shelter. He who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price; no sum can balance his worth.”

Of course I think of my own sons when I look at the friendship between Paul and Fr. Tim. I think about what it means to have a godly friend, someone who has known you forever and wants the best for you.

For my boys (and for Isabel) I pray they are blessed with lifelong Godly friendships like Paul and I have, people in your life who know you to your core and want the best for you. People who call you on, who can say the hard thing, if need be, but can also say all the good things too, to console in the hard times and celebrate in all the good.

This originally appeared in The Southern Cross.

Comments

  1. Friends like this are priceless! 🙂