A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity. ~Proverbs 17:17
I have been contemplating friendship as of late. Growing up I had a handful of people I called friends. In the elementary years most of my time was spent with my neighbors, Mike, Vinny, Chris and Danny. Mike lived right next door and Vinny across the street. These two were definitely the closest friends I had during those years. We walked to school together, swam and rode bikes in the summertime together, trick or treated together...pretty much spent at least part of everyday together. We were all in a different grade. I was the oldest, then Mike was a grade behind me and Vinny was a grade behind Mike. It didn't matter. We were true friends.
As I moved into junior high years Kris entered my life. We were meant for each other--no doubt about it! She practically lived at my house during the summertime! Jen joined us a bit later. But Kris and I stayed best friends. I still love her dearly and correspond with her although not as much as I would like. She moved soon after getting married and I moved as well, but I know we could see each other now and it would be like we were never apart.
As I moved into adulthood, I struggled in the friend category. I had a very close friend from my Hopkins years although we have since drifted apart and although I have tried to initiate contact, that effort has been largely ignored. I have given up for now figuring it just isn't meant to be. There were neighbors in Hopkins but they weren't really friends. I knew they could give my kids a ride somewhere if needed or watch them on short notice but there was no deep friendship or getting to know them there. During this time I met a long distance friend and she has been rock solid in being there for me--but, sometimes, a phone conversation is just not enough.
Upon moving to Buffalo I have made several friendships. Like the moon, though, these friendships wax and wane at times. I guess that is how life works. We all have busy seasons where we separate ourselves from those around us. I have done this at various times as well, not realizing that when we just stop talking to people for a time, it hurts them. When we let them down it is going to hurt. I am now experiencing some of that hurt. People I counted as true-through-thick-and-thin friends have not been there lately.
I have two choices in the midst of this. I could isolate myself as well or move on and look for what God has in store for me. I am choosing the second. I have already seen God bring a few new women into my life who I am hoping will become true-through-it-all friends. That is not to say I want to walk away from previous friendships. I still love those folks and would welcome them back if they desired to come there. I just refuse to come across as dependent on these people for my happiness (something I have been guilty of in the past). I am thankful that God has brought me to a place where I can see that new friends don't have to replace the old ones. I am thankful for the new ladies who are taking interest in this life of mine and that I have the opportunity to take interest in their lives as well. Isn't that what friendship is supposed to be?
I know that my long distance friends--Kris and Katya--will always be my friends, but I also know that I need people close by to grow with. I know that as life brings changes that sometimes friends will change as well...even if that may be difficult for me. I also want to be graceful to those who, because of their own life circumstances, need to step back for a time. I pray that God grants me the mercy to allow them to do so lovingly and not judgmentally as has been done in the past both by myself and by those close to me.
I am most thankful that I have one friend who will never leave me, grow tired of me, lose patience with me, nor ever stop loving me. When human friends fail, as we all do from time to time, I am thankful that Jesus never does.