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Corey's Corner: celebrating the gift of friendship

Countless times my father told me that any friend of mine would be a friend of his, then he’d recite his friendship axiom: “Choose not your friends for outward show, for feathers float where pearls lie low.” I didn’t really understand what the feathers and pearls meant, but figured it was something about deeper being better.

Biola students, you’re discovering that the friends you make in college will perhaps be the closest friends you’ll ever have. During these years, you’re living life together all day, every day. It’s different from high school, much different. Surround yourself by friends who lift you up and love you for who you are and not who they want you to be. You’ll be more fulfilled by investing in friendships with those who care about you deeply and who share your values, who listen thoughtfully. These healthy relationships take time, I guess like finding a pearl.

Those friendships college gave me are still among the lasting gifts from my undergraduate days one generation ago.

Letters from friends to Corey's father

By the way, my father did go out of his way to embrace my friends, something I want our children to see in me. Two of my college friends wrote him letters he saved. Here are excerpts from those letters to my now deceased father, reminding me of the gift of friendship and a parent who says, “any friend of yours will be a friend of mine.”

My friend and I visited your home on our summer wanderings in New England. The last morning when we carried our luggage to load it in the van, you were just heading back into the garage with your mini-vac in hand. You had spent some time in the early morning, before we were up and moving, cleaning out the interior of our car, vacuuming away 1,500 miles of accumulated crumbs and mud. I’ll never forget how special that act of kindness made me feel. You took care of me and my friend, who was a total stranger to you, as if we were family.

And this is what another friend wrote.

Way back in my college days, one of the finest images in my mind is associated with you. I was your house guest one summer week while visiting Barry. I was experiencing New England for the first time, and each evening before I went to bed, you fluffed my pillow. A strange but wonderful piece of hospitality. Upon investigation, I was informed that you fluffed everybody’s pillow every night. My head was met each night by a fluffed pillow. Imagine it! Small act. Large impact. Never before had anyone cared enough to fluff the place where a third of my day was spent. You cared about my sleep. You cared about me. You always leave me feeling a bit better about who I am. You make me think a little higher of myself. I rest easier. I encounter peace. I have a sense of being with Jesus. And I sleep better. You are my dear, pillow fluffing friend.”

Someday when you’re a parent, embrace your kids’ friends. They’ll notice it, and love you more.

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