We sit across from one another in a cramped booth. She talks, I lean in. There is urgency in casual lunch meetings of this nature. And we both know that all too soon, time will snatch away these precious moments. And the body language says it all. Urgent!! This is important!! Don’t interrupt. That is, I want to hear her. So, I lean closer. And I sense the ticking of the clock, I feel the need to say much in this very little time and space that we have been allotted. I feel the urgency. To preserve the moment, to freeze frame. For it is fast slipping away, and time is of the essence. Both distance and time have separated this friendship for far too long. And it is well-past time to re- unite with a dear friend. To reclaim territory lost and discover new found horizons.
Such is the beauty of the life-long friend. It is hard to put into words the easy comfort found in reconnecting with a friend who knows your past. The present does not seem so relevant in these kinds of friendships. It’s all about the painted portrait of the past. When friendship is rediscovered after a period of dormancy, it is all the more precious. When it is lost after years of connection, it is that much more painful.
When friendship is this way, it can seem so very easy. For there is little to maintain in sporadic meetings of this nature. One picks up where one left off, with few rules attached to the maintenance of the under-workings in the relationship. And one can be fooled into thinking friendship is easy. Fool-proof.
Or is it? Friendship can be so very difficult. And keeping certain friendships, maintaining them. Painfully hard. Sometimes it all seems such desperate hard work. So much can be misunderstood when two people are involved. So often words said in haste. So quickly can a mood shift. So sadly can it all unravel. Such difficult, tedious, taxing work to keep it all together! To keep the friendship going.
And tonight, I grieve the loss of certain friendships, even while I celebrate the re-kindling of old friendships recently discovered. For friendship is powerful. It can make or break. It has the power to lift and lower. Friends are movers and shakers. And we need people, but oh! how hard it can be by times to keep everything from unraveling.
Granted, we are a relational people, we depend on one another. We need each other. And we need friends. But when that need for companionship, for company is unrealized, it hurts. It hurts to lose out on friendship. Because we need our friends. And we care. Care is what defines a casual connection from a close personal one: the amount to which we care.
When one finds the treasure of a friend willing to stand by through thick and thin. Through the best of the best and the worst of the worst, they have found something of priceless worth. For a friend loves at all times. Even when they disagree. Even when the issues seem insurmountable. Even when the choices made are fundamentally different. Friends stand by each other. Friends don’t give up.
Thank God for friends who stick.
I have That Friend. And today when I hit rock bottom. Again. He listened. And stuck through the hard stuff. And heard me say the things that are sometimes hard to hear. And he didn’t walk away, or tell me that it was silly. Crazy. Pointless. That I was off on another one of my famous tirades. Nah. Instead, he listened. And patiently.
And it made me realize that the friendships which survive the fire are the ones worth keeping. Worth throwing down the gauntlet for. These kinds of friendships: wherein you know one another’s secrets and you keep them. Wherein you listen to each other’s heart and you hold it carefully, protecting it from harm. Wherein you treasure it. Those friendships are worth fighting for.
Those friendships. Those friends. The kind of friend whom has watched you blossom from girl to woman. That friend is worth investing in. That friend who sees you at your very worst, and still looks deep into places riddled with complicated concerns, seeing the best you have to show for yourself. He’s worth standing by. Don’t take him for granted. Don’t take her for granted.
That kind of friendship is rare. It needs to be protected.
And as I sat in the sun today on the veranda, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Ready to push him away. Again. Because it was all too complicated to explain. Too frustrating to try to unravel the world’s problems on an Easter Sunday afternoon. He sat there unflappable, right in front of me. Blocking my sun. Unwilling to move until I had my say. And then, stayed on to hear it all. Until all was said and we finally sat in comfortable silence.
And I realized. While I grieve other friendships that have come and gone, the hurt of loss and the pain of separation, I am so very grateful for his friendship. That has stayed the course. That has been unwavering. Faithful. So reflective of my Father’s loving friendship. That it moves me to quiet contemplation.
And I am convinced that the rare life-long friendship found in marriage is a hidden treasure when it is discovered. It is the pull that brought the woman to the man. And it can be re-discovered. It can be rekindled.
If two people only strive to make it happen.