It’s been 23 years since I graduated high school (I know, that makes me older than dirt). An old friend is trying to put together a reunion. I may not have graduated from this high school, but I attended school there most of my life and I consider it home. But in trying to help her find old classmates, I have begun thinking about old friends, new friends, and what it’s like to have a friend.
Old friends are great. You’ve known them FOREVER (or so it seems), yet after 23 years, marriage, divorce (sometimes), kids, career changes, moves, and all of those other life-changes that happen, are they really still “friends” or just people we used to know. They know how some old scars happened – first loves, first kisses, first car wrecks, the night you lost your virginity (and to who and whether or not it was any good), but what do they know about you lately? Are you still friends?
New friends are wonderful, too. They know all about your life now. They know whether you’re kids are driving you crazy today and you’re willing to give them away to the first sucker you find; or being sweet little angels you wouldn’t consider selling for a million dollars. They know if you’re rich or having financial trouble, if you are hormonal or even-tempered, if you’re fantasizing about jumping your husband tonight or smothering him in his sleep. They know it all. Except what made you who you are today.
The rarest friends and the best friends are both. They were there in the beginning, through everything in the middle, and came out the other side with you. Still standing beside you, supporting you and being supported by you. Laughing with you, laughing at you, crying on you, crying with you. They’ve celebrated every joy and grieved over every loss.
True friends are rare and precious. They are the ones you can call at any time and they’ll be there. Not with judgement or condemnation, just support and fellowship and love. Questions can wait til you feel like answering, IF you feel like answering. Secrets are kept. Details don’t matter. Helping does. Like the little boy who had a neighbor whose wife had died. He went over and visited. His mom asked him later what he did. The little boy said, “Nothing, mama. I just helped him cry.” That is a friend. How many of us have one of those? How many of us ARE one of those?
I hope each of you can count me as a friend like that. I will be there for each and every one of you. I’ll keep your secrets. I’ll hold your tears in my heart. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Please know that if YOU ever need a friend, you can call me. I’ll be there. No questions asked.