” “…Oh, Mother, you haven’t said. What do you think a friend is?”
Mother frowned thoughtfully and carried on nipping the little stalks off her gooseberries without replying. She said eventually, “Well . . . I’ve had friends who’ve disappointed me. Sometimes, even the ones who loved me have let me down, and not understood, and betrayed my trust. That’s only human nature, isn’t it? I daresay I’ve done as much to them. No, I would say . . . I learned it from a story great-grandmother Melissa told me . . . I would say that because we all have our failings and weaknesses, because each of us is only human, a friend–a good friend–is someone who helps you to persevere.”
“What?” said Therese.
“A friend is someone who helps you to persevere. When the going gets tough and you’re on the point of jacking it all in; by the time you reach my age, Therese, you will be able to look back at lots of times when you nearly gave up and walked away from a difficult situation; and the people you will remember with thanks and love are the ones who helped you, in those moments, to persevere.” ”
– The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock
(The older I get the more true this becomes especially in a local church environment. I’m so thankful for so many dear friends who have helped me persevere.) (Are you sick of quotes from this book yet?)