I Learned About Friendship—At a Funeral

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish Journal The chapel at the funeral house was large enough; even so, it was packed to overflowing with standing room only. I came because I knew one or two members of the family a short time. I was impressed with the size of the crowd and wondered about the deceased. I was soon to find out. In eulogy after eulogy, I learned about the deceased’s kindness, openheartedness, exuberance for life, love of learning, and a long life of serving the community. I felt so sad for the family, but the more I heard, the more I felt sorry that I had not known this person.   As I drove home, a growing awareness dawned on me that this was the second funeral I went to with the same regret. The other one had been a friend of mine, but over the years, we got busy with our lives and went our separate ways. Only when she had died and it was too late did I realize that way too much time had escaped my awareness and I had lost the opportunity to rejoice in a friendship.   Because that’s what friendship really is: a rejoicing. A friend is a jewel, a precious thing that cannot be replaced by any amount of hard work on business, cleaning, cooking, or errands for the home, all of which are important. It doesn’t matter how important they are, they can’t be more significant than to take a few minutes to cherish the mind and heart of a friend.   Life, after all, becomes meaningless if we...
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