Friendship is truly one of God’s perfect gifts. God has arranged to gift me with three friends that I’ve had since I was in elementary school. I’ve known Terry and Mark since I was in 3rd grade and the three of us met Gary when he moved to our neighborhood in 5th. It seems rare these days to have such long standing friends. And we live close to one another. Three of us are in the Twin Cities and the fourth is a couple hours west. Hunting season is one of the few times during the year when all 4 of us try to arrange it so we can spend time together; and pheasant hunting is our perfect venue.
The pheasant hunting wasn’t so great this year. The fields were soaked. In fact, I’ve never seen so much water at this time of year. The rain in September was just too much and even though it was mostly dry in October, we ended the month with a few days of rain and the ground just couldn’t take it. It was enough rain to prevent farmers from getting corn harvested. The birds are lounging in the corn and there’s just no way to get them out of there. Hunting pheasants will get better when the corn is in and the water has frozen over. We saw a few birds, but we had other obstacles this year too. Terry’s dog had a bum foot and couldn’t take the field. We hunted sans chien. It’s just not a very productive hunt without a dog.
Our bad luck didn’t deter us from having a great time. We took a break at noon and lingered awhile longer over fried chicken and chips at the local cafe. I think we’ve all slowed down a bit as we’re 47 years old and feeling a few creaks in our joints. It took me half of Sunday just to get stretched out and feeling better. But it was worth it.
The four of us marched across several fields yesterday with a chilly wind in our faces and warm sun on our backs. We saw a couple dozen turkeys, a big buck deer and many geese. I looked at the faces of my buddies as we joked with each other and caught up on the details of life as we walked across the Minnesota prairie. I could see extra wrinkles, less hair and grey whiskers on our faces. But mostly, I saw the years of our youth flash forward through time. I recalled youthful memories like boy scouts, bike rides and football. I heard new stories about kids, gratitude for having jobs in an uneven economy, updates on parents and plans for the holidays. I felt the rays of the sun setting on our day together as the memories became another year richer. Lord, thank you for the gift of camaraderie: four friends, a few pheasants and a lifetime of genuine happiness. Godliness with contentment is great gain.
Do you have grade-school friends that will always be by your side through thick and thin? What are your favorite memories? How do you continue to create new memories together? Do you see the handiwork of God on how He’s arranged for you to have friends in your life? How would your life and your contentment be affected without them? Share a memory in the comments, we’d love to hear it!