Too Busy For A Friend?

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I first met my friend when we were both in the prime of our lives. We haven’t seen each other now for many years, but to this day, we still keep in touch. Recently, he e mailed me a story he’d read. It had been forwarded so many times that there were pages and pages of addresses, and small wonder. It was beautiful. This is it.
One day a teacher in America asked her students to list the names of all the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it beneath that person’s name.
It kept them busy for the remainder of the period and as they left, each one handed in the papers.
That weekend, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a sheet of paper and listed the things that everyone else had said about that individual.
On Monday she handed each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. Many were surprised and quietly elated by the positive comments that others had made about them.
No one really mentioned the papers afterwards. She never knew if they discussed them with their friends or their families, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose by promoting happiness and helping the group to move forward together.
Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam. His body was repatriated and later placed in an open coffin by the church altar so that family and friends could pay their last respects to the deceased. The teacher had never attended a military funeral before. The body of the young man in his best dress uniform looked so mature and so peaceful.
The church was packed and one by one, his friends filed past the coffin and paid their respects. The teacher was last in line. As she stood beside her former student, one of the soldiers who was acting as a pallbearer approached her and gently asked “Were you Mark’s Math teacher?”

She nodded and said “Yes.” “I thought so,” replied the soldier “Mark talked about you a lot.”
After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates attended the reception. When the teacher arrived, they were stood around Mark’s parents. As soon as he saw the teacher, Mark’s father called her over.
“Thank you for coming” he said “We want to show you something. They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.”
Opening his wallet, he very carefully removed a worn and dirtied piece of paper which had evidently been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking any closer that the paper was the one on which she had listed all the good things that Mark’s classmates had said about him.
“Thank you so much for doing that” his mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.”
All of Mark’s former classmates had started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, “I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.”
Chuck’s wife said “Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.”
“I have mine too” said Marilyn. “It’s in my diary.”
Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook and showed a worn and frazzled list to the group. “I carry this with me at all times” she said. Then she paused before continuing more softly “I think we all saved our lists.”
That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all of his friends who would never see him again.
We see so many familiar faces, so regularly, that we forget that life is as fleeting and as fragile as frost on a cobweb. So please, tell the people that you love and care for that they are special and important. Don’t delay. Do it today. Our lives are transitory and our time is short, therefore, always try the best that you can to lead a good life and to help others along the way. Remember, you reap what you sow and what you put into the lives of others will somehow come back into your own. Perhaps now is a good time to share this story with someone you care about? 


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