The benefit of a friend

Over the past two weekends, we have been very fortunate to spend time with our two longest and best friends. We traveled to San Diego to celebrate the promotion and graduation of my best friend Jim Ritch on May 23rd. Jim has attained the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer(E-9) and finished his Masters degree. I have known him since Drivers Ed class back at Barstow High School in 1982. We struck up a friendship that saw me enter the Army while he married and had two beautiful daughters. Years later, I would be out of the Army as he began his Navy career. Through it all, our friendship has remained close. He lost his mother and this past year I lost my father. We have watched our children grow and now he is a grandfather. I am so very grateful that we have remained close.

This past weekend, we received a surprise call from Renee’s best friend, Michelle Daley. Like Jim and I, they have been friends since high school. We spent Saturday hanging out in Palm Springs together. After they graduated high school, we followed Michelle to Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, TX. While we were youth pastors, she came and spoke to our youth group. She later spent Thanksgiving with us in Tulsa, OK at a trying time in her life. We attended her graduation from Dallas Baptist while we were visiting from Kentucky. We also flew out to spend some time with her and break in her Chocolate Fountain. Mmmmmm!

The greatest benefit of each of these individuals in our lives is the constant knowing that they are there for you. Proverbs 18:24 states: “A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Thanks for sticking by us over the years Jim and Michelle. Many have come and gone, but you have remained faithful. We are both so very glad to call you friend.