Which One Are You?
by Bonita Bennett
I had known John for years, but only as a casual acquaintance. He was tall, handsome, accomplished, and very popular. He was the party giver and well-known as a generous man. He was a ubiquitous social bug, who could have easily opened his own tuxedo store. If a party was the place to be…he was there.
Then suddenly, John became ill with incurable cancer that diminished him from a robust fun-loving extrovert to a frail figure of a man. When I first heard he was ill, I went to the hospital to visit him and to pray for him. But I was not prepared for the sadness in his eyes, as he wondered out loud where all his “friends” were. Before that day, we had never shared words that were above the social chitchat or the humor of the hour. But on this day, he reached out to me in thought as he spoke somberly about his children, regaining his health and his big trip coming up in the fall. (At the age of forty-two, he had been around the world twice)
After that, I visited him often to lift his spirits and to make him laugh, and the only other people I ever saw in his hospital room were his longtime female companion and his devoted family. But when he passed away on a sunny day with gold leaves on the ground, phones jingled everywhere, and people lined the lawn in the crisp cool air, outside his mother’s home, with long drawn faces of regret and shock. As I mounted the steps to pay my respects to the family, I felt a double sadness for his loss of life and the outpouring of “love” that now stood gathered, when it was too late.
At the funeral three days later, I was again in awe of the enormous crowd that had to be managed by police and wooden horses as they stood in the drizzling rain to get a last look at a man who had died too soon.
Hundreds of huge floral arrangements wrapped the walls of the giant church as grown men cried openly and women sniffed delicately into exquisite hankies. But where were they when he could see them and longed to hear their chatter? Where were the ones, he called “friends”, who had snorkeled with him in the deep waters of the Caribbean or trekked behind him on the hot plains of Africa? Where were they…as he lay in pain next to a silent phone, willing it to ring with the latest word…and it didn’t. Presumably, they were busy…caught up in their own lives and wishing him a speedy recovery from afar. But oh, how he would have enjoyed the turnout if only he could have seen it.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon story in the naked city. Think about it. If you became ill tomorrow or needed financial aid, is there a friend who would be there for you? Or are you the kind of friend who would sit by a bedside and read to a sick comrade or assist in a bedpan scenario. Who could you turn to, if you were ever in need, and could use a ride on a dark night or food on a bare table?
As I have said so often before, there are “friends” and then there are friends. Think about it. Which one are you?
Bonita Bennett, founder, publisher Of Being Single Magazine and a former TV/radio personality, is the author of the books “How To Catch & Keep The Man Of Your Dreams,” and The Coming Of Dawn. She is also a nationally recognized life coach/relationship expert, and noted motivational speaker, whose life-changing counseling techniques, classes and innovative workshops on life-skills, inter-personal relationships, conflict management, and problem solving are well-known in her field. Bonita Bennett is also the editor-in-chief of Being Single Magazine. Be sure to get your copy of her two books…Meanwhile, read the excerpts from the mystery novel…The Coming Of Dawn and How To Catch & Keep The Man Of Your Dreams