Can you remember how easy it was to make friends when you were a child? We obviously find it harder as we get older. My mother used to say that I would make a new friend each day of our holidays and I am sure many of you did too. As a child, a bucket and spade were all that was needed to spend a happy day playing on the beach. Mum and Dad would sit in their deckchairs, keeping an eye on us, as we built our sand castles, or played in the shallow water. Curiosity would often lead us to see what another child was doing. Sometimes, without a word being spoken, you would squat beside them and start helping. If a child was a bit shy, they might just stand and watch before joining in. A hesitant smile and that was enough of an introduction for you to become playmates; nothing more was required, or you would simply tell each other your names. That was all that was needed for the new friendship to last right up until you left the beach at tea-time. Occasionally you would be on the same bit of beach again and meet up, but it didn’t really matter because there would always be other children to play with. Paddling and collecting sea shells were also good for collecting new friends, but I liked looking in rock pools too and there the shrimps, small fish or hermit crabs made good conversation starters.
My Mum told me that on one occasion, instead of bringing another child, I arrived back at their deck chairs with a dog in tow! I’d asked a lady sitting a few seats away if I could take him for a walk. Remarkably, she had agreed, so up and down our patch of sand, the not so little dog and I wandered. My Dad said he couldn’t work out who was taking who for a walk as we were about the same size, but both of us enjoyed ourselves that afternoon. Yes, I’d made another friend.
It’s a shame that as we grow older we appear to have more inhibitions and become less easy-going and trusting. Maybe work, family or various problems cause us to keep ourselves to ourselves. Once more we find ourselves back in our childhood, albeit a second one. Things seem easier. There’s time for chats over a cup of tea or coffee. We don’t need those buckets and spades this time round. Just being in a queue, or sitting beside someone is all the incentive we require to put the world to rights. A smile is still and always will be the best conversation opener, but don’t take my word for this. Why not try it out for yourselves this coming week? If we speak a cheerful word to just one person each day, then 365 people would benefit every year. Now that’s worth trying, isn’t it?
Our English-speaking services are held at 11am each Sunday.
7th – Songs of Praise
14th – Holy Communion
21st – Morning Prayer
28th – Holy Communion
Lots of smiles and blessings to each one of you