January 2, 2016



“There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

~Proverbs 18:24, NLT


True friends face in the same direction, toward common projects, interests, goals.

~C.S. Lewis


I was somewhere in my 40’s when it dawned on me that friends are more important than finances: hence the quote, “Relationships have greater value than riches.” I do understand that there are different levels of friendship. I had a friend from high school mock me for two years and he had a rather large audience. He was popular and I was anything but popular. Mid-way through our senior year, he changed and began taking up for me even though it cost him some “so called” friends.

I have learned over the years that your friends are not necessarily those who pretend to be but those who are loyal when public opinion is against you. I treasure my Family and my Friends. I am not naïve, I know that no one has a lot of “Real Friends.” Real friends set the gossips straight. Real friends defend your honor whether you are present or not. Real friends are what Job and Jesus were missing. Jesus faced a cross alone because His friends ran for cover. The one thing I do not like about the ending of the book of Job is that he is feeding his friends and relatives. In my mind, Job would have been justified in divorcing his wife and moving to another country. How could he trust anyone other than God after they had betrayed him once. He probably didn’t put very much confidence in anyone other than God which is a giant step toward maturity.

Last year on Christmas, my nephew Henry was at our reunion. On New Years day, I left our family gathering to visit him in the hospital. I didn’t realize how sick the boy was and he said, “Uncle Jack, will you come back and see me tomorrow?” His father, my brother was promoted in 2009, and the boy’s request shattered my hard and indifferent heart. I said, “Son, Lord willing, uncle Jack will be here.” I went the next day and the next: he was promoted on the third day. I think our entire family was in shock.

2015 has been a learning   year for me and I resolved [long before New Years] not to miss any more family gathering if possible and to cherish and appreciate my friends. I do know, that my real friends read the blog.

This should be extra but what the heck: I was hurt, deeply by an act of betrayal just last week. A friend, I thought, had two tickets to the semi-finals in Arlington and instead of inviting me, he invited his pastor. This is after a 60 year friendship. I was crushed.

I am joking: He is my friend and he invited one of my friends. I would not have rode to Texas with him for all the money in Alabama. I have experienced two miracles this week: three of my grandsons rode home with me from Toney, Alabama [hour drive] and did not ask a single question. The second is that Jerry Newby and Tim Kamikoze Keenum left church Wednesday night drove to Arlington for the game and then drove back [without sleep] and arrived safe and safe–neither are sound. That’s the kind of thing you do in your twenties. I will guarantee you that 90 % of the time they were either speeding or in the wrong lane. This aint gossip and it aint slander, it is the truth. I have rode with both and I have witnesses to back me up.



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