The gift of a friend

The privilege of authoring books, making movies, and writing these weekly columns that are read by countless people around the world in newspapers, magazines, and online publications comes with added benefits.  All of my books and these weekly columns include my contact information.  I am very grateful when readers take the time to call or email me.  This has given me the priceless gift of many friends I have never met before; however, in today’s connected world, we need not meet someone face to face for them to be a valued friend to us.

Several years ago, such a friend wrote to me after reading one of my books.  He had to write to me through his daughter here in the United States because my friend, whom I’ve never met in person, lives in another country and speaks a different language.  We have corresponded over the years, and his thoughts have always been insightful, and his encouragement has always been meaningful to me.  

Recently, my friend sent me a poem that is indicative of him and his influence in my life.  I would like to share it with you so that my friend I have never officially met can become your friend as well.

Happiness keeps you sweet,

Trials keep you strong,

Sorrows keep you human,

Failures keep you humble,

Success keeps you glowing,

But only friends keep you going!

When I started my company, the Narrative Television Network, we began developing the technique we have utilized for the last 25 years to make movies, television, and educational programming accessible for millions of blind and visually impaired people around the world.  One of the first movies we began working on in the late ’80s was the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart.  I got to meet and interview Mr. Stewart for that project, and he told me what a privilege it had been for him to work with the creative genius Frank Capra on that movie.

Mr. Stewart told me that Frank Capra had gotten the idea for It’s a Wonderful Life from a Christmas card he had received that shared the message:  No one can be considered poor if they have one friend.  I have come to believe those words, and now neither you nor I can ever think of ourselves as poor because we are friends, and we have a friend in a distant land who speaks another language but shares a powerful message with us.  Friends are not people who necessarily share the same space.  They share the same heart, mind, and spirit.

As you go through your day today, enjoy your friends, always be a friend, and pass it on.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at or click here for the Facebook page.