Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller were friends for 50 years. Anne taught Helen, invested in her, loved her, assisted her in all her endeavors. In Anne’s old age and illness, herself becoming blind, Helen cared for her with the same devotion and love. Helen mourned for Anne after she passed; they were true friends until the end. What better example of a long, sustained friendship can be found? What might we need to know about friendship in order to survive?
There are plenty of ways to be a poor friend or ruin a friendship. Gossip, anger, and unforgiveness will not score high on the “make and keep a friend” meter. My life, and perhaps yours, is tarnished with past friends or those who are friends no more. However, there are ways to be a good friend and improve friendships. A friend loves at all times and is born for adversity. Purity of heart and gracious speech can greatly enrich a friendship. A friend will give earnest counsel and “shoot straight” with you, telling it like it is and sharpening you, as iron sharpens iron. A friend gives comfort and carries your sorrows, spurring you on through the worst of times. A good friend of mine in Ohio is going through a hard time right now; we value our mutual friendship and support.
Our best friend is God. He will never fail us nor forsake us. We can know Him as friend through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus said we are His friends if we do what He commands us. He has made known to us everything He has heard from His Father. We can be His friends just as Abraham and Moses. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
In some final words between friends, Anne Sullivan said, “I wanted to be loved, I was lonesome. Then Helen came into my life. I wanted her to love me and I loved her. Thank God I gave of my life that Helen might live. God help her to live without me when I go.” Upon Anne’s death, Helen wrote, “For fifty years Anne Sullivan Macy, my beloved teacher, has been the light in my life. Now she is ill and the darkness that covers me has fallen upon her; still the light of her love shines amid the encircling gloom, and we are happy.” Praise God for good friends.