Friendship is a wonderful, and sometimes mysterious, thing to me. It is something to be honored, something to be cherished, something to be cultivated, and something to be invested in. This post is mostly my ramblings about friendship, so excuse my stream-of-consciousness.
I've wondered many times why it used to be so easy to make new friends when I was a child as opposed to now. I have a specific friend from junior high that I remember flat out saying, "Hey! We have all our classes together. We should probably be friends, don't you think?" and she ended up being one of the people I've been closest to in my life. It was that easy! Of course, we ended up having a lot in common so that helped, but we just accepted each other the way we were, learned about the other person, supported and had fun with the other person, cheered each other on in our accomplishments and cried together when we were sad. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like it's not that easy now.
"False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the wall it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports." - Burton
As is expected in the process of growing up, I have since been through many things, including some friendships that really hurt me... friendships that caused me to be more cautious about opening up, being vulnerable, and allowing myself to grow close to people. I am a work in progress in that area... so that, surely, is part of the problem, though how much of the problem it is, I am not sure.
"Friendship is, strictly speaking, reciprocal benevolence, while inclines each party to be solicitous for the welfare of the other as for his own. This equality of affection is created and preserved by a similarity of disposition and manners." - Plato
Because of my difficulty in making new friends who I am truly close to, I have learned to truly treasure my "old" friends. How amazing they are! Unlike some friendships which, as I assume is somewhat normal, have slowly grown apart, these few "old" friends of mine have managed to stay in my life, have been intentional to stay in touch, even in the business of the lives we lead, and have always been there for me as I endeavor to be for them. I am so blessed by them!
One quick example,... today I received a surprise package in the mail from my good friend, Lydia. She sent me a really cool little book that I can write down daily notes/thoughts about motherhood in. No, it's not my birthday; it's obviously not Christmas; she really had no reason at all to send me such a sweet present... but she did.
I cannot tell you how much this small token meant to me. The feeling it gave me made me wonder why I don't do this for my friends more often! Even so, I hope I do and say enough so that they know how much they mean to me.
"The only way to have a friend is to be one." - Emerson
How true is that? It definitely makes me look at my own behavior and ask, "Would I want to be friends with myself?" This is something I want to continually ask myself and be intentional about.
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." - Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
This is the type of friend I want to be. One who is always there for my friends, through thick and thin, one who provides honest advice when asked for it, one who listens when that is all that is needed, one who gets the inside jokes when laughter is the best medicine, and a shoulder to cry on during hard times, among other things.
Do you have a hard time making new close friends or do you find it comes natural to you? What valuable lessons have you learned about friendship over the years? In what ways do you think you could be a better friend?