Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pondering Friendship

I was just sitting here this morning wondering about friendships.

I've been very blessed in my life to have some true friends.  I have been molded and shaped by my friendships, especially those long-lasting friendships that have sustained the distance and time.

I struggled with friendships when I was young.  I never really had a "best friend" growing up.  There were girls here and there that I would refer to as my best friend, but in all honesty, I was pretty lonely throughout my growing up years when it came to girlfriends.  I always felt like the 3rd wheel or the alternate friend.  I never connected solidly with a friend until high school and maybe even college.

I think I struggled with friendships, in part, because I wasn't sure who I really was.  I had one very close girlfriend in junior high but that friendship went by the wayside when I wanted different things out of life than she did.

Once I became a believer in high school, I had a close girlfriend.  But, again, we drifted as our goals in life went in two separate directions.

I remember a very distinct time in college when I was driving home and cried out to God about my loneliness and desire for a girl in whom I could confide.  God stopped me in my whiny tracks with a very firm whisper to my heart "My child, if I were to give you a girl in whom you could confide, you would put her in My place."  The next morning I was reading Oswald Chambers' devotional "My Utmost For His Highest" and came across a reading pointing me to Isaiah 6.  "In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord...".  Chambers asserted that Uzziah and Isaiah were friends.  Yet, Uzziah pointed Isaiah to the Lord to the degree that when he died, Isaiah saw the Lord!  Chambers went on to write about friendship and how the Lord sometimes keeps us from them because they will stand in the way of our relationship with Him.  My heart was touched, knowing I would have done that very thing.

Within a few years the Lord brought me a very sweet friend.  She continues to be one of my closest and dearest friends.  We had the privilege of sharing holidays together when we lived in PA.  Sadly, we now hardly see each other because so many miles separate us.  Yet, when we talk, we just pick right up and dive right into each other's lives once again.  I pray for her, her husband, and her children.  And, I know she does the same for me.

I've had other special women come into my life, as well.  Really, they are too numerous to recount one by one.  Some friends from my younger years even resurfaced in the last several years and have blessed me beyond measure.

I have a few close friends who live right here around me, but the majority of the women I would call my closest friends actually live at least 1,200 miles away from me!  We keep in touch via email, occasional phone calls, and lots of blog/Facebook stalking.  Our emails aren't always replied to right away, but there is a mutual love, respect, adoration, and concern.

Yet, the thoughts I had this morning were about the ending of friendships.  When the miles are too far and the lives are too separate, can a friendship be maintained by just one person?  What makes it a "friendship" if there is not mutual sharing, mutual respect, mutual concern?  There are seasons in friendships.  At times, one person carries the other, even carries the majority of contacting and keeping up with the other.  This was true when I was a new mom and my very close friend had not yet started having babies.  She came to see me more often, she called more often.  But, I hope she always felt like I cared, even if I wasn't the one initiating the call.  And, I made efforts to still let her know I was thinking of driving to see her (which involved packing a bazillion things for the baby now on board).

At some point, I think you have to just let go.  I imagine this is different for every friendship.  Hence, the pondering.

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