The Blessings of Friendship

Tonight was a special night that I got to watch from afar.  But thanks to the power of video streaming, Frisco, Texas and Parkland, Florida don’t seem quite so far away.

I’ve had the privilege of living in several different places in my life.  Raised in Southeast Texas, my college years in central Texas, my 20s were spent in Washington DC, my 30s back in Texas and as I enter my (early) 40s, I find myself in South Florida.  With each and every move, I have felt that God has taken me there for a purpose and with each move, God has put people in my life that I have grown to cherish.  Friends who have helped shape me into who I am.

For some reason, this move has been one where letting go of friendships seems tougher than in the past.  Maybe these friendships were deeper, or maybe I’m just getting older.  Maybe as I see close friends and mentors from my early years aging (even passing away), I’m cherishing the time I have with those who have become so special to me.

I first met Kathy not long after I moved back to Texas in September of 2000.  Ironically, she was the Mayor of the City that I lived in at the time.  We connected when our mutual passion of public service intersected.  I was passionate about affordable housing and she was passionate about making sure that people who worked in Frisco could also afford to live there.  We worked hard on the cause and we became great friends in the process.

Kathy, like my other close friends in our small circle of girlfriends, became my inspiration to make a difference in the world.  While she would never say this to me, her life and her actions have shouted it out loud.

“I am not here in this world merely to exist.  I am here to make a difference where I live using the gifts and talents that God has given me!”

Anything less would have been unacceptable to Kathy.  And through her life, her actions and her love, she held all of us to that standard.

But Kathy and other friends like her have also helped me understand the blessings that a life of service can bring.  The rewards of knowing that at the end of the day, I may walk out of the office, close the door and leave a big stack of unresolved paperwork behind, but at the end of the day, what I do makes a difference in the lives of others.

As I think back over my life, in every phase and in every city I have lived in, God has blessed me with a friend like Kathy who has shown me, taught me and held me accountable to be what He wants me to be in this world.  Some of them I have been blessed to stay close with regardless of our distance and with some of them I have lost touch.

But all of them will always hold a very special place in my heart.

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