I GOT YER "BEAUTIFUL" RIGHT HERE, PAL.
Let me introduce you to a good friend of mine. Her name is Keri-Ann, and she lives in Red Hills, just outside Kingston, Jamaica. Her friendship proves a couple of points, to me, which might benefit you as well.
In the summer of 1992, our church sponsored a mission trip to the Red Hills Baptist Church, to help on construction of a building, and put on Vacation Bible Schools for them. I "superintended" a VBS at a nearby sister church, Cypress Hall, and my older son Brian worked on the construction.
Our trip coincided with Revival Services at their church, and the first evening we were there was quite a celebration of praise and worship. The congregation worship leader invited us to sing and shake hands and meet people and we walked around singing praises and shaking hands. I decided I'd clap other people's hands, and absolutely had a blast doing that. When the singing stopped, I was clapping hands with a little 10-year-old girl so I just sat down by her. When the pastor read scripture, I had someone hand me my bible and I opened it; the little girl next to me didn't have a bible, so I put my bible on my knee and scooted her over next to me so she could read it too. When we sang a hymn, she got a hymnal and opened to the page and put it in my lap and we sang together.
After the service, I was standing on the side steps of the church as a car went down the hill to the street (there were only 2 cars among the congregation, there). The car stopped halfway, and Keri-Ann jumped out, ran up the hill, up the steps, hugged me, ran back down and got back in the car, and they left.
My sweetheart Peg was my first episode of love-at-first-sight. Keri-Ann was the second.
We've been back 10 times since then. Also, with the advent of the internet, we've kept up via email and online chats. To make a long story short, she has grown up into a fine young professional lady, a High School Math Teacher, a youth leader in the Red Hills Church, and just a dear friend. I love her as though she were my own grandkid.
I asked her, once, how it was that she was such dear friends with this old white guy from Alabama. She said "Because you always love and accept me".
I don't know if all people react the same way to love and acceptance, but I suspect most do. And isn't that how it should be with all our acquaintances?
Love, and acceptance?