Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ready-Made Friends, Real Friends and BFFs

“Make new friends, but keep the old,
One is silver and the other gold.”

I think that might be a chorus from an old Girl Scout song.  I can’t quite remember but those words have stuck in my mind all these years.  

Friendship has always been a high value for me.  I even have a small display of some favorite plaques in my kitchen about friendship.  One of my favorites says, “Friendship is a sheltering tree”.  Many times I have experienced the shelter of friendship.  I bet you have too.

Growing up I never had enough friends.  Even though I was always involved in groups of some sort with other girls that provided friends, something was missing. Wallowing in the back of my mind was this sad thought, I don’t have a best friend and that seemed important.  It was all about me.  L

I’ve grown up. Friendship is still very important to me.  But it’s not about me.  It’s about God and his purposes in friendship.  This has brought freedom, joy and a new depth to my friendships.

Today I count myself fortunate to have many friends.  God has given some new friends in surprising ways.  I count the two women who share my GRANDchildren, the mothers of my daughter-in-laws as two special friends.  Thanks Dave and Jeff for bringing them into my life.  J

Some friends are “ready-made friends”.  We are put together in the same group or live in the same neighborhood for example.  It may be a short-term friendship like the women who sat on jury duty with me 17 months ago.  Or it may be a very long-term friendship like being on the same ministry team.  These friendships sometimes, but not always, continue and grow long after the group has dismantled.  My former neighbor Ginny and I have become real friends even though we no longer live on the same street. 

Ready-made friends can become “real friends” and often do.  Real friends are friends because of some similar interest, shared life experience or similar values and they want to be friends.  Several of my real friends I’ve met through the churches we have attended or through my Longaberger business.  A similar interest caused us to meet; similar values caused our friendship to grow.

Some of the ladies in my knitting group are becoming real friends.  We relate outside of knitting.  We enjoy coffee together sometimes and we realize that life is more than our next knitting project. 

Thirty-five years ago a new friendship was born when Candy and I were both expecting our first child.  Although we had a ready-made friendship because we were both part of the same group, our ready-made friendship developed into a real friendship because of our shared life experience.  Our sons were born three months apart.  For the last 25 years we have lived in different parts of the United States.  We usually see each other once a year, but I look forward to my times with Candy.  She is real friend. 

There is a third category of friends that I call “best friends”.  Recently I learned this acronym, “bff” ~ “best friend forever”.  I like it.  God has given some bffs. There is no limit on how many bffs someone can have.  I like that too.  But bffs come at a cost.

As I think of my bffs, some of the costs have been major transition and/or pain. 

Several years ago we had recently moved to a new city.  We had settled into a large church and didn’t know anyone.  After a few Sundays I remember recognizing a lady from a Sunday school class when we walked in the front door.  Wanting friends, I approached her.  I don’t remember the content of our conversation but I do remember she pointed me in a direction and said, “see you there”.  I didn’t feel real good about that encounter. 

A few months later another new family moved into the area and came to our church and Sunday school class.  Their children were about the same ages as ours.  I approached the mom who was swimming in the same waters I had been in only months before.  Transition is hard. It can be painful.  We became real friends.  Today I consider her one of my bffs. 

I almost lost another bff.  I don’t remember the reason, but I do remember being very mad and hurt.  My wise husband pushed me toward my “friend” and warned me that I was on the verge of losing someone who had become special to me.  I had to move toward her and ask her forgiveness.  By God’s grace, I had the courage to move and she had the grace to accept.  Since then we have walked through several joys and some very deep sorrows together.  The pains have cemented our friendship!

Another bff is currently swimming in the very deep waters of her young adult daughter having a major stroke.  I am swimming with her through my prayers.  Her friendship is a gift to me.  Our friendship started in the ready-made category.  We along with our husbands were both invited to be part of a small group.  Over the years she and I became real friends.  Today I consider her a bff.

Ready-made friends, real friends and bffs all are part of my life.  I appreciate them all and look forward to how these friendships will continue to grow as we live life together.

“Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul”.
Proverbs 27:9, The Message

No comments:

Post a Comment