The last few weekends have been a reminder to me of just how important true friendships are.
A few weekends ago, a friend and his wife were traveling through town and we met up for breakfast. While we talk frequently, we don’t get to see each other more than a few times per year, if that. It’s always nice to have face to face time with friends.
While we were at breakfast, I realized that I’ve known this guy for nearly half of my life. That’s a good deal of time. We talk frequently on the phone and have supported each other through some difficult times in our lives.
This past weekend, I and two other friends from seminary surprised another one of our friends for his birthday by flying out and spending the weekend together celebrating. We spent hours just talking, catching up, and laughing. We took part in a new pastime (for us) of axe throwing.
Looking back over these few weeks and these experiences, I couldn’t help but smile with gratitude at the blessings of good friendships. When you’ve experienced loss in your life, you realize even more just how important these kinds of relationships can be.
I have friends who have called these “hide the body” kinds of relationships. These are friends you can call in a pinch and know that they’ll be there to support you no matter what.
Life hardly affords me the time and money to do everything that I would like to do. Even my travel out to Iowa for the weekend was steeped in delays and cancellations with the airlines. It’s not always easy to coordinate schedules in the midst of raising children and working.
But what’s the alternative? I’ve had conversations with some who are just a little older than me who have little to no meaningful relationships in their lives. They keep mostly to themselves and when crisis comes, they find themselves in a pinch, struggling to make it.
I met the guys I was with last weekend nearly twelve years ago. We were just starting out in seminary in a program that took us away from our family for a number of weeks every year. We were all working in full-time vocational ministry.
What’s interesting to me is that the moment we got together, we didn’t miss a beat. We just started talking about the things that were on our hearts, the things that we are passionate about and the conversation flowed as much as the coffee did.
Not all friendships can stand the test of time. People grow apart, interests change, focuses change. I saw this in my early years out of high school and college when I would see people with whom I’d graduated and realize that we really had nothing to talk about apart from reminiscing about the good old days. That’s not to say that reminiscing is a bad thing, but if it’s all we’ve got, our conversation can grow stale after a few minutes.
I’m not sure when the next time will be when I see these guys again. I know that we all felt like it needs to happen more often than it does. I think we also realized that making time for things like this, for people with whom we connect, is important. When you realize the value of something that you have, if you’re smart, you begin to treat it with the value it has.