Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:July 20th, 2007 01:48 EST
To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God

To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God

By Carolee Kaufold

In the play Les Miserables, near the end, Jean Valjean says, "To love another person is to see the face of God." WOW!! Every time I heard that, I would stop the CD and think, what a wonderful saying. I think loving a person is not an easy thing to do. Now, I don`t mean as a lover or a spouse. I mean as a friend, as person you will drop what you are doing to be there for them.

When you meet a new person, you stop to ask yourself all kinds of questions about why, how and why not? You have to judge how that person will add joy to your life. You have to figure out if that person will add value to your life. But when you come right down to it, you get a feeling down deep in your soul that is a person you can love-- and one who will love you in return.

The beauty that comes with making friends is that it brings trust, love and loyalty. You pick a friend who listens, stops and listens. You pick a friend who lets you talk and waits until you are done before they offer advice. You pick a friend who makes you laugh and lets you cry. You are the kind of friend who offers to lend a hand and a heart. You don`t judge your friends on what they do or how much money they have. You want them to be your friend because they know the end of your sentence before you finished it. Your friend will call you when you are thinking about them. They know when you need them before you ask them.

You don`t have to send birthday cards to tell them how much you treasure them. On Christmas you don`t have to buy them a present because it is your friendship they value. This friend will wait by the phone for you to call with news that you are OK. You will take your friend to the doctor when they are afraid to go alone. You share a double hot fudge sundae the day before the diet starts. When they go on the patch to quit smoking, you buy gourmet lollipops to take the place of cigarettes. You know their favorite color and they know your children`s names.

You have told them things that you never had the nerve to say out loud, and they never told a soul. If you tell your friend that you want to see the ocean for your birthday, she reserves a beach-front hotel for you and her. When she gets a divorce, you help with the paper work, and never say a bad word about her choice of men. She sits with a sick family member, so you can get some sleep. Your friend can be a man or women. A spiritual bond is formed-- something that will last for all time.

You have misunderstandings, harsh words and right-out yelling matches. But your heart is lonely without your friend. In each life we are lucky if we are blessed with one or two best friends. I have 3; one is in Arizona, one in North Carolina and one here in Florida. They are from different times in my life. The one in Arizona is Linda, we were both young wives in 1965, in New Jersey. We had our first sons together. She moved on to Arizona and we lost touch for more than 20 years.  Now, she is back in my life and we speak almost daily by e-mail.

The one from North Carolina is Fran. She and I became friends in New Jersey as well. We have been friends for more than 23 years. We only see each other once a year. She is as near as a phone call in the middle of the night. We have been there for each other during some really frightening times. Sometimes it was me who leaned on her, and sometimes she was leaning on me.

My Florida friend is Barbara; we have known each other 2 years this month. She gives me more than I deserve, and I love her more than is possible. She showed me the way back to me, and I showed her she is someone who should be proud of all she has accomplished.

I was an only child, and never learned to share. I never really had much to share to start with. The friends I met along the way brought out the best of me, and gave me the best of them. They didn`t care that I was heavy, changed my hair color weekly or couldn`t drive. I didn`t mind that they were wise, funny and generous. We would, and still do, sit together and laugh one minute and cry the next 5 minutes. They have problems that they could only share with me, their inner feelings were laid on my heart and we prayed together. I asked for advice from them and they were honest and fair. Each one of them gave me something so precious: their time, their attention and their whole heart. In them I see goodness. In me they see hopefulness.

While doing my column, I have met friends who filled my heart with joy. I have seen unselfish acts by on-line friends. We have called hospital rooms in different states checking on their family. We started prayer groups. We tracked down missing buddies, if they were not on-line in a week or so. We celebrated births and weddings. We mourned for deaths and losses. We have talked on the phone, in instant messages, in chat rooms and in person. We let dinner grow cold to give friendly ear. We have kept secrets. We rejoice in happiness and feel deep despair in sadness. We have had parties on AOL. A bridal shower and Christmas in July were on-line between friends who will still be friends in the next century. We tried to save TV shows, children`s lives and each others sanity. We bring jokes, poems and true stories to each other. We encourage and share faith. We send notes and gifts to each other because we are part of one wonderful world. What we see in each other is kindness, goodness, forgiveness and faithfulness.

To love another person is to see the face of God."