Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver, the other gold
Last week I talked about new friends and how quickly they can become precious. I am blessed to have met many people in the twists and turns of my life. Only a very few turned out to be not such good friends. Many are pleasant acquaintances I stay in touch with mostly through social media. And some have established such long-term residence in my heart that they have helped define who I am as a human being.
I recently went to the beach for a few days with two friends I have known since seventh grade. We were roommates in college. We spoke frequently through the ensuing 35+ years, but rarely saw each other until about 8 years ago. Since then we have made a concerted effort to get together for a girls’ trip every year. Life events and a pandemic have interrupted our plans a few times, but we have been mostly consistent.
There is something so special about a shared history. We all grew up within 10 miles of each other in tiny little small Southern towns or on farms just outside of town. Our parents and grandparents knew each other. They made sacrifices to send us to Christian schools and our mothers sewed a lot of our school clothes. We made mostly good grades and some bad choices. We pursued different professions, but all appreciate education, hard work, and the benefits of saving. We don’t always agree about politics, favorite authors, or breakfast. But, we agree that God’s mercy and grace have carried us through times when we made tremendous errors in judgement. We agree that we have aged amazingly well and our husbands have become more tolerable and tolerant. That red wine enhances a good meal and Uber is always a wise idea. We use sunscreen and color our hair.
We pick up conversations where we left off months ago. We share worries and concerns about our children, our elderly parents, and our own health. We open up about hard times in our lives that we rarely mention to anyone else. We sing, cry, laugh, and pray together.
Added to this golden friendship this summer was a reunion with a dear friend that I haven’t seen in 50 years! Yes, we were 12 the last time we were together. And yet, once again, we picked up conversation as though we saw each other last week. There is a connection – a gossamer thread – that unites us even after all this time. You can call it coincidence; you can call it fate. I call it God. We were meant to stay connected. God gives us free will and we make mistakes, we lose touch, we sometimes deliberately isolate ourselves. But, if there is a reason for us to remain friends; if we need to learn from each other’s experiences; if either or both of us needs God to repair some cracks in our heart where cynicism, regret, unforgiveness, or doubt has nestled down, then God will push us together.
That’s friendship. That’s love. That’s gold.