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Wed. June 23

A must-see video

Visit YouTube to see a beautiful four minute video of a baptism in Congo’s Lake Kivu.

A side note:  The baptism site was next to a fortified UN Peacekeeping Camp.  The entire baptism was watched by a guard with binoculars.  (Most of the peacekeepers with either Pakistani or Chinese.  Pray that this man will continue to remember the joy he watched and have dreams of who Jesus is.)

Today’s Proverb:   “Do not moved an ancient boundary stone, or take over the fields of the fatherless.”  Proverbs 23:10.

Being the son of a land surveyor, I’ve seen much heartache and bitterness over land lines.  Family members have fallen out over a three foot wide strip of land along an old fence row.

The story below is a story of two neighbors who didn’t let a land line destroy their friendship.  It’s still one of my favorites.

The Friendship Lane

From the book,  The Old House by Curt Iles.  Copyright 2004 Creekbank Stories

The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.

–Henry Boye

One of God’s greatest blessings are friends- People on whom you can depend in any situation.  Friends who have stood steadfastly with you through both thick and thin times.  My mom always told me, “Curt, always remember, you can’t have too many friends.”  And as usual, my mom was right.  Each and every friendship we have is a priceless jewel in our journey of life.

If you ever visit Dry Creek, there is a special spot I’d like to show you.  It is an overgrown pathway in the woods that bears witness to the importance of friendship and neighbors.  Most people will walk right by this narrow passageway and never notice it, but it always catches my attention because of what it means.

This special place is what I call “The Friendship Lane.”  It is located just east of camp property, near the home of Frank Bogard.  It is a ten-foot wide strip between two barbed wire fences.  This path separates the land between the pioneer homesteads of Sereno Hanchey and Lionel Green.  These two men, now dead for many years, were descendants of some of the earliest settlers of Dry Creek.

Mr. Rufus Hanchey, Sereno Hanchey’s son, took me to “The Friendship Lane” just before he died.  As we stood there, he related the following story:

“Curt, at some point many years ago, there was a difference of opinion between the Hanchey and Green families over where the property line, running east and west, was between our properties.  Each family claimed to own land that reached over into the other’s present field.  Because there was no fence to stand as the dividing line, the actual land line was open to dispute.”

Mr. Rufus continued, “My dad and Lionel Green had always been good friends, and they valued their friendship more than any piece of land and showed it by their actions.  They met pretty close to where we are now standing and came up with a solution to this problem.  They decided to declare the disputed ten-foot wide strip a “neutral zone.”  Each man would build a fence on their respective side of the strip.  Together, they agreed to use the strip as a pathway, but neither would claim ownership.  Due to this agreement, both families were satisfied and no further problem ever occurred.”

As the son of a land surveyor, I’ve seen some pretty nasty fights between landowners over the difference of a two-foot strip along a fence.  Some of the saddest things I’ve ever seen have been the sight of brothers and sisters falling out with each other over inherited land.  I’ve seen family members go to their graves still holding a grudge against a brother or sister.  How sad it is when we will let anything material or temporary break a priceless relationship with our families or neighbors.

Standing today at this overgrown path I call The Friendship Lane, I’m appreciative of these two men who placed friendship above an easily forgotten piece of land in the woods.  People, and the relationships we develop through friendship, are much more important than any land title we can store in a bank safety deposit box or possession we can claim.

This “Friendship Lane” teaches me another lesson– If we are going to get along with others, we need to give them a little room.  Young people today call it “cutting some slack.”  If we push against, and rub on others, friction will result.  And friction always generates heat, and heat can generate the fire of anger that, in time, harm and can ruin longtime friendships.

By simply giving others some space and walking away instead of fighting, the “friendship fences” in our lives can stay mended and in good shape.  If we always have to “win” by getting our way, we will leave behind a trail of broken relationships, many of them with those closest to us.  I’m often reminded of the saying, “You only have so much blood to spill, so choose your battles carefully.”

Darkness is now approaching as I turn and leave The Friendship Lane.  Glancing back one last time, I can visualize in my mind the long ago scene of Sereno Hanchey and Lionel Green walking their respective fields at sunset.  They come upon each other and stop to visit.  Each leans against his own fence, separated by the ten feet of land they share.

First one, then the other, crawls through his respective fence.  They meet in this grassy neutral area where they shake hands and share a plug of chewing tobacco.  As the sun sets behind the pines, they visit until it is so dark you can barely see them standing there.  Only from the sound of their voices, as they visit and laugh, can you tell they are standing back there, somewhere in the middle of the Friendship Lane.

The richest man in the world is not the one who still has the first dollar

he has ever earned.  It is the man who still has his best friends.

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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