The Gospel story of the paralyzed man isn’t only about a miracle of Christ; it’s also about the miracle of friendship. In this episode of “Choices,” Fr. Tateos Abdalian tells how we all get by with a little help from our friends.

More on the Friends in Need

The Blessing of Friendship

To be able to say that you have friends is a celebration in life—and a celebration of life.

I consider myself deeply fortunate to enjoy friendships that go back to when we were all under 10 years of age.

As a part of the Armenian community growing up in my hometown of Watertown, MA, it was easy for us to be friends. Most of us lived within walking distance of one another, went to the same elementary school and junior high.

Attending our parish Sunday school and weekday Armenian school had us together at least three days a week. High school brought us all together daily. There was our membership in the ACYOA Juniors, and then the Seniors. Relationships began to develop beyond being “just friends” when we started dating.

Then something happened: The seriousness of college years caused some leave-taking from each other; for others the occasion was the military draft (this was the era of the Vietnam War).

Careers, marriage, parenthood, and simply having to grow up came along to give us a different perspective on life. There were new responsibilities, and the chance to meet other folks with whom we also could become friends.

But I can honestly say that for most of us, those friendships formed in our younger days were forged in iron—and have remained solid to this day.

While there was no paralytic among our posse with as a great a need as the man in the Gospel story, there were times when we desperately needed each other to get through some difficulty in our lives. I am certain that if the need arose, none of us would ever hesitate to carry another, or to carve a hole in a roof if a friend’s well-being depended on it.

I still get together with “the guys” once or twice a year. It’s usually an occasion for us to dance or to weep: we are all coming to that season of life when we realize that we have lived more days than we are going to live, and so the days we have remaining are more precious than ever.

As I look back I am ever so thankful for my dear friends, each and every one of them. I think I can understand just how much appreciation the paralytic in the Gospel story would have felt for his friends. I feel the same appreciation for mine.

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