The word “Friend” came into the English language almost exactly 1000 years ago. It came from an early German and Scandinavian word that was probably spelled “freynd”. But historians think that the idea of a friend has been around since a long time before 1000AD. It might be interesting to carefully define “friend’. This is from the great Oxford English Dictionary: “Friend; One joined to another in mutual benevolence and intimacy; not ordinarily applied to lovers or relatives.”
In general when people age major changes can occur; some slowly and some very rapidly. Sometimes these changes are not pleasant or happy.
When I came to this place, Carlton Downtown Pleasant Hill, almost seven years ago, it seemed I had almost no friends left. Several disappeared when I retired from my work. Some moved away from this pleasant town or had passed away. This included the best friend I ever had, my beloved wife. It is not wrong to say that I came here with a broken heart.
Then a kind of miracle happened. I met quite a number of people I liked. Some, not much later, became very good friends to me. And, this is a kind of a miracle, one or two became the best friends I ever had.
This is a bit like entering a dear person’s home at Christmas where the party is about to begin. Everything is decorated beautifully and there are presents hidden throughout this Christmas home. One of them has your name on it and you find it, not hidden, but in plain sight. You open it and it is wonderful! It is just what you most need at that time in your life. To be able to join another in mutual benevolence and intimacy is a wonderful gift indeed.
P.S. From William Butler Yeats: “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”
Pictured below are a few Carlton residents who have formed friendships while living within our communities: