Three words: FINALS. ARE. OVER!!! Suffice it to say that I have been in a jubilant mood since I escaped my last exam yesterday - Astronomy. I no longer have to study for days at a time. I have two weeks to simply repose at home - no deadlines, no pressure, no textbooks. It will be a glorious experience. Anyway - to the point. I do have a tendency to get around that, don't I? We'll, we're here now - so let's begin.
"Make new friends but keep the old - one is silver and the other's gold." I imagine that you all have heard this so many times it hardly requires repetition. Yes, it's commonplace. Yes, it's been overplayed. I'm here to tell you that it's also true - but not in the way you might suppose.
Indeed, old friends are as good as gold and better. I have many companions that have been Daemon to my Pythias since before I can remember (and by the way, if you don't get the greek reference, look it up - Daemon and Pythias. It's a story worth the reading). I have many friends with whom I have formed sweet alliance as the years passed, throughout my school days and on. They have been dearer to me than any material possession I could ever own or desire. They have made life bearable for me when it could hardly be shouldered. They have supported me in my high ascensions, even when they themselves had already reached the summit. I couldn't have asked for anything or anyone better than they. Next to such unfailing friendship, where does gold stand a chance?
But here's a rather interesting spin on the old phrase. Did you know that silver is acutally more valuable than gold? It's true. Gold often sells for more on the market, but silver - in its broad usefulness and comparative scarcity - is actually higher in value. Now what does that say to us? Allow me to give example - and again remember, as I relate my own experience, that I do so only for a lack of anyone else's. If you can make relation with the topic at hand, please bear yourself in mind as you read.
I came to college lonely and afraid. All of my old companions had gone to other schools, and I was very much alone. The size of the school overwhelmed me, compared to the little high school I had just left. My apartment was altogether too quiet after the hustle and bustle of a household of seven. I found myself crying often, and sighing almost every two or three breaths. It was a difficult first few weeks, without question.
But college didn't bring hardship only. When I came here I discovered something else - pure silver. My wonderful roommate was my best helpmeet during those difficult times - always smiling, always free and easy, and a cock-eyed optomist to the core. She cared about what classes I was taking, how my day had gone, who I had met, or what I had done, and earnestly listened to the telling. My other apartment-mate soon made herself known as a veritable rainbow, bringing life and color into any room she entered. And then, not long after, we met the girls next door. Addy, a constant ray of sunshine who hails from rainy Washington. I suppose that when natural sunlight is scarce, you learn to make your own - Addy simply radiates it everywhere she goes. And then her roommate - if you read my sunday scribblings entry a week or so ago - "What a Difference a Day Makes" - then you know how I met Katie. She came over one night, without pretense, and asked if I was doing anything. We ended up making a movie night of it, and we both had a wonderful time. What she could not have known was that I had been having a horribly homesick day, and had despaired at sitting in the apartment alone all evening. I had no sooner completed the thought when her knock came at the door - a little miracle in its way. We have been fast friends ever since. We plan to room together next year, and to go to Jerusalem together come next winter.
I could tell you endless stories of a similar nature. It's incredible how many memories can be made in three and a half months! There have been so many evenings, so many days, so many hours that I have held on to afterwards, and which I have later fled to and cherished on difficult days.
But the point, once again - gold and silver. I love my old friends. I do. I've missed them, and I've tried to take every opportunity to correspond with them. I've missed high school and Heber City. And even in their absence, I prize them as gold. And yet... here in Provo, I've found something equal to gold and better. Even in the midst of difficult change, even in a new, unfamiliar place, I have been blessed with silver everywhere I turned. I haved thanked my lucky stars and my Heavenly Father every day for such friends and such blessings as I have been given - even during the difficult days. And those dear friends have been more valuable to me than the old, simply because they are not a letter or a message, but a warm, living, breathing human being standing in person before me. Someone I can physically turn to when I need encouragement, or comfort, or a sweet embrace. And I can say with all honesty that none of my shining silver friends have ever let me down.
This time of year, both Thanksgiving and Christmas, is a good time of year to take stock of your personal coffers, both in a physical and spiritual sense. As you do, I encourage you to take particular notice of your gold and silver, and express your gratitude to both for their friendship and service. I also encourage you to look around and notice those who count you as gold or silver in their own treasuries. I know that every time my friends have given me comfort, my only desire was to return it in their hour of need. So take notice, be aware, keep and open mind - you never know what you might discover by the simple act of keeping your eyes open.
I know I have well expended my time on this page - yet one thing more. Never forget who sent you among these loved ones - our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They are our finest friends, now and forever. When all other metals have rusted and tarnished, when "from love's shining circle the gems drop away," they will always remain. May we remember to turn to them in all our doings, during this sacred Christmas season and always.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and safe journeys to all. 'Til next we meet...