Music Monday | Meet Me in the Middle of the Air – Paul Kelly

I cannot find a reference for the following verse, so if anyone knows who to credit for the below words, please let me know. I’d appreciate it.

“The Measure of a Man”

Not “How did he die?” But “How did he live?”
Not “What did he gain?” But “What did he give?”
Not “What was his station?” But “Had he a heart?”
And “How did he play his God-given part?”
Not “What was his shrine?” Nor “What was his creed?”
But “Had he befriended those really in need?”
Not “What did the piece in the newspaper say?”
But “How many were sorry when he passed away?”
Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer, to bring back a smile, to banish a tear?

These are the units to measure the worth,
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

Music Monday | Friends – Michael W. Smith

Suitcase wheels whir and grate as I haul the rollaboard along behind me, running for the train. Two minutes to departure. And I still have to make it up a level, over the bridge and down an escalator to platform 15A. A lyric pops into my head as my feet beat against the white polished concrete floor of the bus terminal.

And friends are friends forever.

Conversations play out in my head, both real, and imaginary. Constantly. Mostly, I let them create scenes of their own accord and don’t pay much attention. But as I run, I replay the discussions I had over the weekend. I’ve been in Newcastle and Sydney for four and a half days, and due to my recent engagement, most of my talks with friends have centred around relationships, dating and marriage.

A question I used to ask prospective dates, I said to the friend I grew up across the street from in high school, was “How many close friends do you have, and how long have you known them?”

The answer was often indicative of how well a person could create and maintain relational bonds and boundaries. How well they could manage a relationship over time and all the challenges that came with it. How good a friend they could be. No close friends was always a worry. Short-lived friendships were a worry. But not making new friends was a worry, too.

Of the people I connected with this weekend, the range of time for which I’ve known them is between eight and twenty-eight years (or my entire life, if you count my parents). Long-term friendships require work from both parties; they need trust, respect, vulnerability, kindness and love to flourish. And I’ve always found that if you can be a good friend, you can be a good partner. But most of us don’t consider what makes us a good friend, nor what makes a good friend to us in return.

Although I don’t resonate with all of this song anymore in the same way I used to, it’s the one that popped into my head as I ran and the message is still meaningful.

A lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

And I’m exceedingly grateful for mine.