Making time for a friend

March 31, 2019

The other night I was watching yet another Chuck Lorre production, I believe it was The Big Bang Theory. At the end of each of his shows, a short wit-filled commentary called a vanity card is flashed across the screen. It lasts just a second or two, and you’ll have to hit pause to read it, but it’s usually worth the effort. Some are of profound interest.

The vanity card the other night was especially intriguing to me. It began with Mr. Lorre talking about how he was scrolling through his contacts on his cell phone and coming across an entry of a casual acquaintance who had recently passed away. He remembered the person to be a nice man and that he enjoyed spending time with him, but they didn’t become close friends for no other reason than the usual excuses of a busy life and tossed-off promise of lunches or dinners that would never come to pass. He continues his commentary, describing the glow of the LED screen of his phone and seeing all that was left of his friend—an email, phone number, etc. He began to wonder should he delete this information. Why not, he thought. There was no really reason to keep it except for the fact that in his mind, it felt—disrespectful. To die, he thought, was one thing; to be deleted—another. So he did the only thing that felt right to him at the moment, he dialed the number. To his relief it went to voicemail. Feeling the need to leave one last message to his friend, he left a rambling commentary about how he wished they had gotten to know one another better and how sorry he was he never followed up on one of their many threatened lunch dates. He felt a sense of silliness as he hung up but also a small bit of closure. Suddenly, his phone rang. He looked down and saw his dead friend’s name in the caller ID. He froze. With his heart pounding in his chest and the room spinning, he forced a deep breath and answered the phone. It turned out to be his friend’s son returning the call, confused to why someone had called his dead father’s phone. Taking another deep breath, Mr. Lorre thought one last time of his friend and then calmly answered the young man—I’ll tell you over lunch.

How many of us have overdue lunch dates? Is your life really that busy that you can’t take an hour out of your life to have a meal with a friend? How about calling that friend who is off duty due to an illness or injury? He or she might really appreciate the thought. While you’re at it, see if they need help with anything. It could be as simple as helping them with a little yardwork or moving a heavy box that has been sitting in the hallway for a month. A little effort on your part could go a long way for both them and you. Too often we overlook the need of others. I hope by writing this particular piece that it will inspire us, as an organization, to not only talk the talk but walk it too—at least to a restaurant with a friend in tow. It’s a start. So the next time a buddy of yours is off duty, just don’t go through the motions and ask does he or she need something. Take the time to schedule that put-off lunch date and then follow up on some meaningful offer of help. Don’t take no for an answer. Trust me, there is always something you can do. Whether it’s the kind act of bringing a meal to the house or maybe just doing a needed chore on their property, a small gesture of friendship goes along way in this world. If not for you, do it for your son or daughter—it may just get them a lunch date in the future!

By John Hicks

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