The Incredible Gift of Friendship

by Arthur W. Anderson

In a church last served by our friends, David and Priscilla Norling, we are blessed with many friends. Among them is Richard Fox, a professor of Philosophy at Cleveland State University. He surprised four of us at church when he invited us to enroll for free in a Philosophy class at the University for the spring quarter. It was a class on Ethics (the basis of moral choices). Discussion on ethics and how to make true choices is very relevant to me now!

I can’t help but celebrate the opportunity to openly study ethical issues. I didn’t have to say, “I wish I was 21 again!” Because of this exceptional opportunity, I was 21 again!

Turn the page and let me tell you a story about our trip to Florida this past February. The first Sunday we went to a Presbyterian church with our friend, Helen Fauser. A highlight of that morning was rekindling a friendship with one of the pastors. He had served a church in Youngstown while I was at First Covenant there. We stood outside where he was greeting people, and shared many fond memories. What a great experience—except for the weather.

It felt more like January in the northern plains. It got worse. That evening when we went for dinner, a cold, blustery wind hit me in my weakest point and by Tuesday I found myself in the Venice hospital with pneumonia. A bit dazed when I entered, I wasn’t sure whether I was in a prison or a hospital. However, I came to appreciate the staff and personnel, and was grateful for their fine service.

The second day there one of the Chaplains, a Catholic Priest, came to visit. He was gracious beyond words and interpreted the meaning of the service a priest renders, stayed a few minutes, and went on.

Soon after the priest departed, this fine looking gentleman came in, sat down, and introduced himself. He was David Johnson, pastor of the nearby Covenant church in Venice. How great to see him! Sorry to say, I was not aware of a Covenant church there, but my heart skipped a beat or two, and suddenly the whole family of Covenanters enfolded me. Home is coziest after all!