What Makes A Friend?

As you look at all of the relationships that you have, which ones stand out to you?  You can most likely loop your relationships into acquaintances, friends, and close friends.  Nowadays, I guess you can say that a Facebook friend might be a more casual relationship, not necessarily defined by its depth and closeness.  How about the relationships that are tighter and stronger?  What do those look like?true-friendship

I looked to my parents for so much of what I have learned and I learned an awful lot about friendships from them.  They had some really close friends who might just as well have been family.  They vacationed together, stayed in each other’s homes, and kept in touch on a regular basis.  You could look at those relationships and just genuinely know that something was different.

Not too long ago, I met up with a friend of my parents.  He was in town and was hoping to connect with me and my family for lunch, so he called and we set up a time to meet.  I shouldn’t so easily relegate him to just a friend of my parents.  He and his family were friends of our family for years.  My mom and his late wife had been friends since they were in their 20’s.  We affectionately called them “aunt” and “uncle” as they felt just like part of our family.  His late wife succumbed to cancer about 10 years ago after a longer battle than my mom had.

During our visit, he filled in a lot of the blanks about the relationship that he and his wife had with my parents.  When you’re young, you just don’t really care about the particulars of a relationship.  All you really want to know is whether or not we like each other, everything else kind of falls into place from there.  He told us of his time serving in Vietnam and how my mom and dad had really cared for and loved on his wife.  He painted such a neat and loving picture of my parents that it was a precious memory for me to hold onto.

My parents had other friends as well who they cherished.  I was always so moved at the intimacy that was shared by all of them.  There was a love that was so evident that it just exuded from them.  As my brother and I observed these friendships, I think they really made an impact on the both of us.

As I look at the friends in my life, I realize more and more how difficult it is to stay connected.  Busy lives seem to dictate our availability more than we might be willing to admit.  Yet, there are the friends who you can call after a long hiatus and feel like you can pick things up right where you left them.  Those are the friends who love you no matter what and aren’t prone to complaining that it’s been a while since you’ve called.  After all, phones do work both ways, and chances are, if they haven’t heard from you, you probably haven’t heard from them either.  So, why get so upset about it, embrace the moments that you have.

I feel so blessed and fortunate to have friends like that.  Friends who I can call when I’m in the area to see if I can crash with them for the night.  Friends who I know care, even if they don’t call or we don’t talk as often as we would like.  I am grateful to know that those friends are there, and they have been for a long time.

I’m coming to the point in my life where I have known some people in my life for longer than I haven’t known them.  One friend was recently remarking on the fact that we have known each other for more than half of our lives.  That’s quite a feat, especially considering that we still talk, still care, and still love each other as much, if not more, than we did all those years ago.

True friendships don’t come along every day, which is why they are to be cherished.  They are priceless, no value could ever be given to them.  When you find them, you need to hold onto them and never let go.  The beauty of them is that if they are truly the real thing, they will endure hardships and survive even the times when they might not be as nourished as we would like them to be.  Once you find them, you’ll be surprised just how enduring that they are.

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