Ah, life! It has its twists and turns, its mountains and valleys. In challenging times we discover interesting things about ourselves and others. It is said that adversity does not so much create character as it reveals character.

The true treasure in life lies in our relationships with others.

When I count my blessings, I count my long-term friendships, the relationships that have stood the test of time. So many people shine and sparkle in the sunlight but lose their luster when the storm clouds gather. Their character and friendship is a thin veneer that quickly wears away.

I have been close friends with a married couple for nigh on 35 years, through two marriages, an engagement, and long bouts of singlehood. To me, they are precious jewels.

I have used the same life coach for almost 20 years. I find her presence in my life steady and calming. She has seen me through thick and thin. She has answered my calls day and night, weekends, and while on vacation. She has fit me into her schedule at the last minute over and over, and offered to be available to talk with me during her off hours.

My wife has been my companion for more 17 years. It has always been good, it has not always been easy. She has hung in there with me. I know I can count on her because she has been there when it counted again and again. I treasure and value that track record of reliability, stability, and dependability.

My assistant has been with me for 14 years. Yes, she works for me and I pay her but her dedication, support, and commitment go far beyond what money can buy. She is a friend and cheerleader in every sense of the word. I depend and rely on her. She has read me the riot act a few times but always done so with love and a hug at the end.

To all of these people, I owe a deep debt of gratitude. They have stood by me, even when I’ve lost it, or been difficult, or stressed out. They have believed in me, called out to the best in me, supported me when I’ve not been all I could or should be, and been beside me while I healed and recovered.

It is easy to be someone’s friend when he is at his best. It is that I am loved and supported when I don’t deserve it that I know I have true friends.

To be worthy of such love and friendship and to return it in like measure: this is to be a good human being, to have lived a good life.