‘First order’ friend wonderful blessing

My brother-in-law once told me a story about two lost Texans. I like stories where Texans are heroes. This is not one of those.

A veteran teacher, Randal also works for the Forest Service in New Mexico—which is why he was one of the folks who got the call and ended up spending more than 24 hours on horseback trying to find a father and son from Texas who were lost in the New Mexico wilderness.

Randy says that when they finally found the pair it was amazing to see what they had chosen to take along with them on the trip—and what they hadn’t. They were loaded down with camping gadgets from Wal-mart. Fru-fru stuff of all sorts. But not nearly enough food and water. If looking prepared for wilderness travel was enough, they had been more than ready. In fact, they were not prepared at all.

I wonder about the journey we’re on. The one through life. I wonder what’s really most important to take along.

Lots of stuff makes the list for most journeys. Supplies. Equipment. All sorts of resources. You can stuff a bag with clothes and books (always take a book!) and a toothbrush. (If you watch the TV show “Man vs. Wild,” you know Bear Grylls always brushes his teeth after eating apples from bear droppings. Just kidding. About the teeth-brushing. My wife loves that show.)

But the most important thing to take on life’s journey is not a thing. It’s a person. Take a friend. A real one.

A real friend is more than an acquaintance, more than someone you just happen to be thrown in with. A real friend is priceless. I’m not sure as many people have a real friend, or know how to BE a real friend, as we might sometimes think.

A real friend likes you and enjoys spending time with you.

A real friend loves you enough to tell you the truth when someone else might be afraid to.

A real friend is honest when you need his evaluation of any situation, maybe even of you. But a real friend is never 100% neutral. He can’t be, and he shouldn’t be. He’s your friend, come what may.

We’re blessed if we have many folks we like and enjoy spending time with. But I’m talking about friendship of the deepest sort, the kind that takes time and commitment and is worth every bit of it. This kind of friend is not just one of many that you trust, this kind of friend is a person you can completely trust yourself to, a much more rare and precious thing.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m making a journey—and we all are—that’s the kind of friend I want. Whatever else I take on the trip, I want to take that kind of friend.

And of “First Order” friends, One is by far the best Companion of all.