Today, I’m giving thanks for friendships and the community of guys and gals that we have relationships with through everything from lunches, dinners, and game nights to daily texts, weekly phone conversations, and every-now-and-then social media posts.
When I was growing up, our family was close to three other families through church and school. We ate at each others’ homes, sang in church Christmas programs together, spent Spring Break traveling in groups to Colorado…we were each others’ extended families. Then, as time passed, one by one these families moved, life brought changes, and as kids, we saw far less of each other. By the time we were all in middle school, we were all in different states and without the technology of today, we rarely spoke or saw each other.
For me it was a bit devastating. We weren’t the ones who moved away, so I felt left behind, and those girls and guys I had spent the better part of my childhood with were integral to my history. I missed Allison and Kirsten, Betsy, Amy and Lori, Kelly, Tiffany, and Brian and Dana very much.
As I have walked my life’s journey to adulthood, I have seen this same action happen often. I made more than a few wonderful friendships, only to have our paths divert us to new and changing landscapes. But, I am thankful for the times spent with people who gave me a lifetime of great memories. We hosted great pumpkin-carving parties, attended loud concerts, took trips to Cancun, spent nights spent playing Scrabble or Sequence, walked for hours at flea markets, cheered at football games and so much more.
Many of my friends were made through my work in education. I have taught with some fantastic teachers, and I have been blessed to also become friends with some of my students and their parents. We have traveled to New York, walked in a Komen Race, and ate meals together. I have celebrated several marriages with them and a few new babies. What a full circle of blessings my career has been!
There have been times of loneliness over the years, something I think we all feel from time to time. There have been moments where I felt I didn’t have anyone to call at 2 AM while Satan was trying to beat me up with my doubts, worries, and fears. I often struggle with not wanting to interrupt the lives of others, so I keep quiet about my wants and needs. Except, even then, I have a friend, a best friend, and his name is Jesus. He has carried me through my pain, rejoiced with me in my celebrations, and He listens when I feel alone. Friendship was created by God to give us camaraderie and joy, and whether or not others are available, He can fill our hearts with togetherness.
I can’t say that right now I have one best friend, but I have been blessed with many I count on as close friends. And, as a married couple, we have grown to know a couple of families and couples that we enjoy sharing a Saturday night with over a grill and some cold drinks while our kids play together.
So, today, I’m giving thanks for the friendships that the Lord has blessed me with, for the relationships that have re-bloomed thanks to social media, and for the lifelong memories that I received in knowing so many good people throughout my life thus far.
This started out as just a post about giving thanks for Friendships, but as the recent events unfolded in France, I added a few more songs to my fall playlist for today. I hope you still enjoy it, and I hope that you reach out to those you call friends, whether far or near, and remind them that they are loved and missed and have a friend in you.