Thursday, December 29, 2011

Life giving friendship

Today my children and I took a little road trip to have our annual post-Christmas lunch with two of my best friends from high school. With 8 children under 8 between the three of us, it is a noisy little get together that doesn't leave nearly enough time and space for deep connection or lengthy conversation. And yet, there is just something about being together that reminds me why old friends are such treasures.
The rich, unspoken history.
Many chapters of life under out belt.
Back stories that do not need to be shared, because they have been experienced together.
We know each other's parents and grandparents.
We remember how each met our spouses--and can laugh about some of their predecessors.
Yes, indeed, old friends are a sweet gift.

As we were exchanging gifts I was struck by the note Randi wrote in mine: "I am so glad we decided all those years ago that it was not going to be hard to be friends."

I had almost forgotten about that conversation until Randi, with tears in her eyes reminded me. We have come so far that I forgot how hard it once was. In high school we fought like sisters at times. I can't even remember what about--just that we frequently had each other frustrated and in tears. Until one day (in our early 20s, I think) we had a relationship altering conversation. We decided we were either going to be loving friends or we were not going to be friends anymore. We could not always behave like the 14 year olds we were when we met. We could do the hard things of life together as friends, but we were not going to stick around in each other's lives just to make things more difficult.

As a 37 year old adult it honestly makes me cringe that it was that blatant of an ultimatum...but in retrospect, Randi & I agreed today that it revolutionized our friendship. We realized we loved each other. We chose to stop biting at each other and decided to act like it. In what was perhaps an act of relational maturity that was preparing us for the journey of marriage, we learned how to be on the same team. Today, we have 23 years of rich life-giving friendship to show for it. Our investment has yielded great dividends.

We don't always get to choose who is in our life...family, colleagues, neighbors, customers are often a part of life we seem to inherit to some degree. But friends, to borrow an old adage, are the family we choose. When we treat each other with care, the returns are often precious.

4 comments:

Allison Preg said...

I love this perspective as I am about to get together with my group of friends that I've known since we were in elementary school. Our annual get togethers are hit and miss, but I cannot wait to see where we will all be in ten years! Thank you for the reminder that I do, indeed, want to maintain those friendships for the long term.

Mary Lou said...

You are so blessed to have these two women in your life and being intentional about sustaining your friendships. What a treasure that no one can take from any of you. You are so deserving and God has blessed you richly. You bless my heart.

k and c's mom said...

I have 4 high school friends (Class of '76!) and they are among my most blessed possessions in this life. Friends who knew you "when" and who know your story. My mother passed away recently, and these precious girlfriends understood everything I was feeling without saying a word. My now-adult children saw the value in these friendships as they were growing up, and are also working to stay in close contact with their high school friends. LOVED the picture you posted.

Caitlin said...

Old friends are certainly golden. I love the concept of not having to work at your friendship. Sometimes it pays to work at friendships, but not constantly. To reach this conclusion together, I'm sure has taken your friendship from strength to strength!