Old friends are beautiful things.
The sorts of people you see after being apart for months and you just pick right up like nothing changed. You tell stories and laugh and joke and tease senselessly and it still feels normal and natural. Even when a lot of other things have started to feel less routine and normal.
Yesterday, one of my best friends came home from teaching in northern BC for the year. BC is far away. Especially when we were living on the Rock. And I missed her. Even though she visited and called. And it is pretty huge that I admit that I miss her.
So, the Child and her spouse-to-be and L and her spouse-to-be and Patrick and I went on a field trip downtown to the boardwalk. We ate food. Teased L&C (C being future spouse, not the Child) about their public displays of affection and had a great time. There were fireworks and music.
Things have changed. We have changed, but for whatever reason, the friendship still works. And seems to work well. Even if we all can drive each other crazy sometimes.
God has blessed me with the kind of friends I should have always wanted, but didn’t. Well, I did, but not in the people I wound up with… This sounds heartless. But, seriously, when I started hanging out with all three of my closest home friends, I didn’t want to.
V got my phone number in the 6thgrade on the first day of school after she insisted she knew me from somewhere (turn out our Dads worked together). She then called and talked to me every day. Even when I thought it was weird. And may have tried to make excuses to not talk. Eventually, we became good friends.
V is the sort of person who befriends most people. So, she promised L who I knew from bumping into occasionally in middle school that we would meet her on the first day of high school in grade 9. I thought this was foolish. How would we find her. And did we really want to? But, V insisted and we tracked her down. And we all wound up in the same class. And I though L was odd because she was so outwardly freaked out about starting high school. I mean, I was too, but why show it. Then, I got to know L. And her family. And she helped make sure I didn’t die in the elevator when my asthma flared. And the beauty is that she really does wear her heart on her sleeve and that is different from me, but that is okay.
So, because of V and L and their families, I somehow began getting roped into doing music stuff at their church. And because of their love and their patience and a lot of God stuff, I started going to church with them.
That is where I met the Child. V taught Sunday school, but L and I were in a Young Adults class. Then, the Child started coming to church. She was 15 and there were no other kids her age in Sunday School. So, she joined our class. Fine, whatever. One Sunday, we ended up being the only two people in the class. No teacher. Just us. We spoke about three words to each other. We don’t shut up now. Over the next few months, L and I helped with youth group, Child joined the worship team and we sort of adopted her as a little sister. And thus, we called her the Child. And V, L and I took her everywhere with us.
Somehow, I accidently ended up with three wonderful friends (there are many others, but they are the core three). That I remain close to despite moving an ocean away (and that I made V&L wear lawn green in my wedding). Because that is how cool friendship is. It transcends distance and time changes and weird dress colors and awkward medical questions.
God gives us some pretty awesome examples of friendship in the Bible. Jesus and the disciples were quite a gang. Also Daniel and his buddies Hananiah, Mischael and Azariah were pals that endured a lot of stuff, especially for their young age.
We are built for relationship, so it is not surprising that God created friendship. The support of others is a necessary part of our growth as individuals and in turn larger groups and movements. I think God uses friendships to encourage and reprimand, to teach and develop and really, to further His will. And that fascinates me. I love that it is intentional, even if we don’t see it as intentional. It is comforting.
Like our relationship with God, our friends are always there. Not as fail proof as God, but a good, more tangible example of what our relationship with God can be. Like our relationship with God, friendship still takes work and effort on our part. We need to spend time with our friends. We need to love them and appreciate them and support them. Sometimes, this is easier than others. Sometimes, you don’t understand the friends and they hurt you. And sometimes, you have to love them through that phase. Because God loves them through that phase too.
And that brings to an end my sappy friendship rant.
Wait… I lied… One last story. Friends are the sort of people who laugh hysterically when you break the zipper of your bridesmaid dress during photographs at your wedding, but promptly ensure you don’t flash the world (please note, it was like -10 out). They are also the people who lend a sweater and giggle in the bathroom while your mother sews you into your dress. They serve you your food from a self-serve buffet, so you don’t accidently throw food on yourself or someone else. They are the same people who put the piece of the wedding dress you broke dancing down your dress for you to hopefully reattach after the wedding. And yes, they are the people who fix your hair when the hairdresser screws if up. Because that is why you keep them around.