Allen & Robert, circa 1963. (Robert in the checkered shorts. Allen in the yellow shorts.)

The other day I had a delightful surprise. I received an email. It said something like, “Hi Robert. It is Allen. I am in town. Can we connect?” I have not seen Allen in 10 plus years. Probably 30 years before that. We grew up together in the same neighborhood and not only loved hanging out with each other but the same antics. I immediately got back to him and we set up lunch together for the next day.

When I saw him and he saw me, we gave each other a big hug. My eyes immediately teared up. I was so glad to see Allen after so many years, was overcome by a sense of gratitude, and was poignantly reminded that real wealth, the kind of richness that lasts regardless, all comes from people and friendships. Friends are one of life’s greatest gifts.

Friends, the kind of friends with whom you pick up exactly where you were the last time you were together. Friends, the kind that listen to you without judgement, love you just because, could care less what your politics are, are more interested in what is in your heart than in sharing what is in theirs.

Friends, the kind you can share deep feelings, hurts, and struggles with, without concern of measuring up or being thought less of. Friends, the kind with whom you share memories from long ago that bind you to a time gone by and to those who no longer walk this earth. Friends, the kind with whom vulnerability is the norm and most of what rankles and gets people so apoplectic these days matters not one iota.
Friends, those souls who know we all do the best we can in life, everyone makes big mistakes, and forgiveness is as easy as melted butter. Friends, those spirits who have huge ears and really small mouths. Friends, those blessings that make you feel right at home. Friends, those God-created beings who remind us about the best part of what it means to be a human being, things like having a sense of humor, not taking oneself too seriously, having teflon shoulders, and being easy going.

I am so grateful Allen got a hold of me. Not only because it was so great to catch up and be together, but because I was reminded once again that with friends in the world, a person truly has it all.

Today, I reached out to some of my other friends I’ve not seen in a while. Although over the phone, once again I teared up and was filled with gratitude.

I invite you today to call one friend you have not seen in a while, perhaps a long while. Just say you are calling to say hello and how much he or she means to you. My hunch is that such a call will draw you immediately back to what really matters in this life.