Recently I've found myself thinking about the value of friendships. As we go through life many friendships are formed. In our ever mobile society so many people move about the country and even the world that often many of these friendships fade into memories. There are some who live in one area throughout their life. I believe they have an advantage in the keeping of lifelong friends. For those of us who have moved around several times over the years friendships are formed in many places. Some of these we lose contact with even though at one time we shared a close relationship. Those friendships maintained can be very special.
I have been blessed in life with so many dear friends. I wonder sometimes what has happened to some of them which for one reason or another all contact was lost. We don't realize many times just how much our friendship means to someone. As I look back over my life I can think of so very many friends who have made an impact on me.
During a time so long ago as a young single mother, I remember a couple who provided a nice little cottage on their farm for my family. Later when my car broke down, for the last time, they surprised me by leaving a really nice car parked in my drive along with keys as a gift. Though we've gotten together only once in over twenty years, we still keep in contact via email. Then there was an older lady who rented her upstairs apartment to me, along with my three young children, who always offered a smile and a word of encouragement. After more than thirty years I still receive a birthday card from her each year. Another dear friend during those years would often pat my hand after we'd visited, leaving a twenty dollar bill, telling me she knew I could use it. How can you ever repay such kindnesses?
Along this road of life there have been hard times, when help from others was a blessing. There have also been times of plenty when I have been able to do for others and hope to "pay forward" the goodness God has shown me. As a young woman I had many who encouraged me to further my education. The urging of those friends helped me realize a future that led me into over twenty-five years of nursing. I could never say enough about some of the fine friends I worked with that literally gave their best years in the care of the sick and dying, the young and the old.
There have been many spiritual friends in my life over the years who have been faithful to teach and guide me . What a joy it is to have good friends you can count on to pray for you and with you during times of loss and sorrow as well as share in your happiness in times of great blessings. How precious have been several Pastors wives over the years who have shared insight and teachings of God's Word. They may not realize how the words they shared helped carry me over the rough areas of life. Their dedication and sacrifice for others made a lasting impression on me.
As I think on friends I've known "best friends" quickly come to mind. I've had several during my life and one most precious. About twenty-seven years ago I met a lady who instantly, it seemed, was my kindred spirit. We have shared watching our children and grandchildren grow up. We have shared marriage, divorce, rebellious teens, menopause and the births and deaths of many we've loved. Laughter and tears have been a part of our friendship. The glue in our friendship has been a love for the Lord and a desire to follow him. She has been ever steadfast and during times in my life that I "lost my way" she was always there to care and encourage me and to point me in the right direction. Though many miles have separated us over the years our friendship has been held close. Now as I enter the "Autumn" years of life I am so glad there is only a brief drive between us. We are able to get together for lunch, and spend hours talking, laughing or crying, whatever we need at the time. A true and faithful friend, I have found to be a rare treasure.
I would surely be remiss in a discussion of friendship not to mention my very best friend on Earth. He is the one who is there every day to share the good and the bad. He is always there to encourage me in whatever I set out to do. He is a loving and kind man, one who has a most tender heart. He shares a love for and faith in God and is my prayer partner. He is a wonderful father and a most loved Papaw. My husband, my dear friend is the one I want to share all the days of my life with. His value to me is far greater than gold.
I have saved the best for last in this discussion. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Pro. 18:24 Ah, that friend that is closer than a brother, Jesus Christ. How very grateful I am to have been introduced to this friend at an early age by a loving grandmother. He accepted me "just as I am" and has been by my side always, the dearest friend I ever had.
This has been a bit wordy, I realize. I hope though, as you read you were reminded what a treasure a good friend is. I fear many are just too busy with life to invest in a close friendship. Take the time, maybe there is an old friend you need to contact just to see how they are. Maybe you have a friend who just needs to know how special they are. It is my prayer that most importantly every one that reads this has made the acquaintance of that friend which is closer than a brother.
May you be blessed along your way with many good friends.A