Get High on Life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 26, 1998

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / August 26, 1998

It looks like only yesterday, but actually it was over 34 years ago when I was drinking at the bar in Roussell’s Restaurant with an insurance associate. In our conversation, he asked if I had many friends? Veryconfidently, I said, “I really do!” His next statement got my attention. Hesaid, “If you have two really good friends, you’re a very fortunate man.””You see,” he continued, “a friend is somebody who is still around when everybody else walks away.”The reality of the truth of that statement hit me about 12 years later when I lost a job that I really liked. It was around Christmas and I had alot of bills, a wife, and four children. I waited for calls from all of my”so-called” friends. None came. However, I did receive two calls from twopeople who cared.

One call was from Mrs. Ruffin Montz. Her message didn’t console me muchat the time, but this is what she said. “Harold, God’s got something betterin store for you.” “I’ll pray for you,” she continued. “and I love you.” Mrs.Montz died a few years ago. I didn’t visit her much during the years, butevery time we met, I got that big, godly smile and a kiss. I miss my friend.The other call I received was from Leroy Williams, at the time an assistant principal at East St. John High School. He wanted to know if hecould help me. “Do you need any money?” he asked. I refused his offer, buthis desire to help me has stayed with me all these years. A short timeafter our conversation, I thanked him for the call. He said that he neverforgot how I treated him when he finished college and made him a loan at the bank. “You treated me like I was special,” he said. He was special then,as he is today, and that phone call is still a very special memory for me.

What is a friend? Webster’s dictionary defines a friend as one attached to another by esteem, respect and affection; a supporter. I still don’t havethat many, but God has placed many more than two in my life in the past few years. Most of them have been better friends to me than I have been tothem.

One of my friends will be leaving the area very soon because effective Oct.

1, he will be the pastor of a church called Abiding Branch, located in Excelsior, Mo., which is 20 miles out of Kansas City, Mo.The Rev. Mike Boudreaux has been a true friend to me, even when I didn’tdeserve his friendship. The Bible says that a friend loves at all times. Hehas been faithful as a friend, even when I wasn’t faithful. He’s loved meunconditionally, even when my actions could have ended a godly relationship.

Brother Mike has been associate pastor at the Reserve Christian Church for the past 10 years. When he first shared with me his opportunity to be apastor, I was excited. I know he and his family are anxious and maybe alittle concerned about what the future holds, but I know that he is comfortable knowing that God holds the future.

A few of the things I admire about Brother Mike is his loyalty to God and his respect for authority. He almost aggravates me with the love he showshis wife, Stephanie. It is unusual. Not many men love their wives as Mikeloves Stephanie.

As a father, he is a godly example. He disciplines his children and protectsthem from a wicked world.

When he gives a sermon, it is delivered after much preparation and shared as a confident teacher, loving and ministering to the Body of Christ.

I think God has prepared Brother Mike well for his new role. He has visitedthe sick, counseled the broken-hearted, and tried to gather sheep who have gone astray. He made a habit of comforting the families that lost lovedones. He was a regular visitor at funeral homes, especially in Lutcher,sympathizing with grieving family members.

My friend, Brother Mike, and his family will soon be leaving. The people inExcelsior, Mo., are being blessed. He’ll be a good pastor. Their gain is theRiver Parishes’ loss.

His family will miss him most. I know in my heart that God has used himto touch their lives more than he will ever know. Other people will misshim as they wish him well.

Two people that come to mind who will miss him as much as anyone are Mr. and Mrs. Norman Buckner. Brother Mike has loved, respected, andministered to this special couple.

In the past, I’ve often said that I don’t miss many people. Brother Mike, I’mhappy for you and wish you well, but must admit that I will definitely miss you.

May God bless you and your family!

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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