I have done a lot of thinking about the word "friends" as of late. I have studied scriptural references regarding this word. I found it interesting that in the parables of the lost coin and lost sheep, upon finding both of those things, these individuals share their good fortune with their "friends". I also found it interesting that in one of the most heart-wrenching sections in the Doctrine & Covenants, where Joseph cries unto the Lord while imprisoned in Liberty Jail and the Lord responds to be of peace and to endure adversities well with the promise of exaltation on high, the Lord then offers these poignant words to Joseph: "Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." D&C 121:9
I, like in the parables of the coin and sheep, have shared my good fortune with good friends. And though I have not experienced the depth of the trials that Joseph has, I have certainly experienced "...friends [who]...stand by [me] and ...hail [me]again [and again] with warm hearts and friendly hands." In fact, I am overwhelmed with the warm hearts and friendly hands that have shared in the good fortune of our family these past few months.
So to all my friends, who so lovingly stand by me, Jared and our children; who offer hearts and hands of charity over and over again, who share in our good fortune of weddings, missions, family get-togethers, and the many other joys we have, I say with a heart brimming over with gratitude: "Thank you. I love you."