“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
Do you have a friend that loves at all times? Someone who has been there for you through the good and the bad? Someone that knows about all your baggage and junk, yet loves you anyway?
Think back to your earliest childhood memories. To the friends you played with on the school playground, or perhaps in the church nursery. You know, the friend that you were in diapers with. Are you still friends with these people?
My earliest friend that I remember, would probably be my double-cousin. Being double-cousins we were always together. Our mom’s are sisters. Our dad’s are brothers. So it didn’t matter which side of the family was getting together (and they were always getting together) we were both there. We are 2 years apart in age. We’ve always been able to be honest and talk about things like sisters. Which has been great for me, since I am an only child (she has 3 sisters). As we have gotten older our relationship has changed. I am glad to say that we have grown closer, and she is not just my cousin, but also one of my best friends. Our children are very close in age, and we chat on the phone at least once a week. Our husbands get along great. It is nice.
My other earliest childhood friends that I remember would be a friend from church. A classmate from 1st grade, and one from 2nd grade. The friend from church was a few years older than me, and as we got older, our friendship drifted as she became a teenager, and I was still a child. The two classmates – well, the three of us were stuck to each other like glue. That is until I moved away. Then one of the others moved. While we have stayed in touch, and still see each other every few years, I fear that as children (and before the internet with email/facebook/twitter….) we just were not able to keep the connection needed to stay super close. I still love all of these girls, and now, thanks to facebook, we do keep in touch. We still care about each other but that connection just isn’t there.
Then there are the friends from jr/high school…. Ah yes. A time I would rather block from my memory. No, not really. I LOVED these friends. We had great fun together!! We laughed and cried together. We made mistakes together. I don’t have any regrets, except for not being the friend that I should have been. I take full responsibility for the loss of these friendships. However, again thanks to facebook, we have been able to reconnect, and repair some of the loss. We enjoyed our 10-year high school reunion this year. Honestly, I had a blast! It was like the past 10 years had just been days (except most of us had spouses and children with us, lol) – I suppose this is a perk from growing up in a small (and I mean SMALL) town. Some of us have even reconnected even more since then. A true blessing.
They say the friends you make in college are the ones that you will form the closest bond to, and keep the longest. I didn’t have a typical college experience. I did make a really great friend in my ASL class, and yes we do still keep in touch… but I didn’t live in the dorms, I didn’t join any groups or clubs, I didn’t even eat on campus, or spend time in the library. I went to class, and went home.
I know, I’ve always been a boring, old soul.
My closest friendships that I have developed as an adult have come from my church family. I love these people that I call my friends. These are true, deep, lasting bonds. We have done life together. They have seen me at my worst, loved me through my tears, rejoiced with me in happiness. Even when some of them have moved away, the distance only separates us physically. Love keeps us connected. (And thank God for unlimited calls and text, LOL!)
My very best friend though, is my husband. I LOVE this man! We’ve been together 13 years. He, has truly seen me at my worst. He knows things about me that I wouldn’t want others to know. But he also knows the best things about me. He loves me in spite of my faults (and trust me, there are many! You should see my pile of clean clothes that need to be put away…) He loves me when I forget to set out things for supper (oh… speaking of which…). He has loved me through sickness, and in health. Through happy times, and times of utter heartbreak and despair. We have grieved the loss of loved ones together. We have dealt with infertility together. Been through the shock and chaos of spending the week in the NICU with a sick baby. We can laugh at private jokes together. We “get” each other. He is my biggest supporter, and number one fan – and I am his. He is my friend that “loves at all times.”
I am also glad to say, that my parents are also some of my best friends. They have loved me through my life, and have been there for me at every turn. As an adult, I am able to appreciate the way our relationship has grown and changed through out the years. I love my mom and dad deeply, and appreciate the way they have loved me through all my phases of life, and how they have welcomed my husband into the family as the son they never had. And now, as grandparents… Well, let’s just say they have embraced that phase of life with open arms and hearts full of love (and pockets full of candy, lol!).
Our friendships and relationships obviously change over time. We have to grow and mature. Figure out who we are. I’m not a child anymore. I’m not the same person I was in jr. high or high school or college. I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago… or one year ago. God is constantly molding me. Shaping me. Growing me in to the woman He has created me to be. I pray that I am always pliable, and willing to be molded by His hands to do His will.
How do we develop these close friendships? Is there a help guide? Yes, there is. It is the Bible, and we will get more into what the Bible has to say about forming friendships in a later post.