To the editor:

In February 2015, I wrote:


What do I say? What can I do?

Sometimes when a tragedy — i.e. death of a loved one, divorce, loss of health, fire, tornado, etc. — befalls a loved one or a friend, we often ask these questions of ourselves.

Too often, I fail in my response to these questions. But recently, I found, in my mom’s collection, a poem I would like to share with you:


Just to Have a Friend Stand By

When trouble comes your soul to try,

You love the friend who just stands by,

Perhaps there’s nothing he can do:

The task is strictly up to you,

For there are troubles all your own,

And paths the soul must tread alone —

Time when love can’t smooth the road,

Nor friendship lift the heavy load.


But just to feel you have a friend,

Who will stand by unto the end,

Whose sympathy through all endures,

Whose warm handclasp is always yours,

Although there’s nothing he can do.

It helps somehow to pull you through.

And so with fervent heart we cry,

“God bless the friend who just stands by.”

— Selected


Illustration: Little 8-year-old Sally Ann had lived all her life next door to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, who had been married for 62 years, and they were the best of friends.

As time catches up with all of us, Mrs. Wilson passed away and Mr. Wilson was devastated. Sally Ann asked her mom if she could go over and see Mr. Wilson, and the mom said that she could.

Sally Ann stayed for a little while; and when she came home, her mom asked what she and Mr. Wilson had talked about, Sally Ann said, “We didn’t talk. I just helped him cry.”

Think about this: To the world, you are just one person; but to just one person, you can be that “friend in deed.”


At the time I wrote this letter, I really felt that having/being a ‘’friend’’ was such a blessing and privilege, but in no way was I prepared for the real blessings that comes from true friends.

In the last several weeks and days, my wife, Norma, has experienced some serious health issues and has undergone a very delicate surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Thank God for blessing her with skilled surgeons, the successful removal of the tumor and the prognosis of a full recovery.

Along with God’s intervention in this is the intervention of “true friends.” Friends and family were and are, awesome.

… May I say to all of you who did, prayed and for all the “little Sally Anns” out there who helped us cry those tears — tears of joy not of sorrow — … God bless each one of you and your families.

God loves you and so do we.

To God be the honor, glory and praise.

Joe Houston

65 Anderson Drive


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