" Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?"
There are certain advantages to growing up the way our kids have. They have seen many different places and aren't very intimidated by new adventures and meeting new people. But there are also some disadvantages to moving roughly every 3 years. I used to think that my kids just didn't have the same kind of relationships that kids who grow up in the same town for most of their childhood do. One of my favorite movies from childhood was Ann of Green Gables. It was one of the first VHS tapes I owned and I must have watched it a 100 times. There are so many wonderful things to love about the story of an orphan being adopted and raised on a little island in Nova Scotia, but I always a little envious of the friendship between Ann and Diana. Ann refers to Diana as "A bosom friend- an intimate friend, you know- a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul." I always longingly wanted this type of friendship for not only myself, but also for Emily.
Last weekend, I realized for the first time how truly blessed Emily has been with a few dear friends from around the world. Deep abiding friendships that have stood the test of time and have been strengthened despite distance and separations.
It was Jessica's 17th Birthday and the Greenwood High Prom. On Friday the question came: "Could I please drive down and eat lunch with Jess tomorrow and spend some time with her as she gets ready for Prom?" It was on the tip of my tongue to say no, when my ever practical husband shocked me by saying she could go. What?? It's an hour away! She's never driven that far by herself! and with gas near $4 a gallon!! What was he thinking??? Perhaps he was remembering that our little girl isn't so little anymore and that at her age he drove from Birmingham, AL to Fort Jackson, SC for army basic training. Whatever the reason, last Saturday morning Emily took off on her first road trip to see one of her oldest and dearest friends. I had one condition...I wanted a picture of the 2 of them.
Emily met Jessica when she was 7 years old, just before the start of 2nd grade. We had just moved to Greenwood, SC. Looking for some fun, the kids and I went on an outing with the church we had visited the Sunday before. Jessica's Mom, Susan has truly never met a stranger and she greeted us that day as old friends, introducing the kids around and making us feel at home. Turned out they lived just around the corner from us and Emily and Jessica were going to be in the same 2nd grade class. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
|Music Camp 2003|
|A Final Goodbye 2005|
LM Montgomery writes in Anne of Green Gables that “True friends are always together in spirit." Jessica and Emily are a living example of this. A friendship build over 10 years that neither time nor distance can destroy.
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Emily has been greatly blessed by a few other abiding friendships. Her first "best friend" was Micaela. Their friendship started out by default when they met at the age of 3 in gymnastics and their mothers and brothers became best friends.
|in 2000 at age 4|
|on a family vacation together in 2007|
I've come to discover that true friendship is not dependent on just living in the same town as someone for a long time. True friendship is built on certain things:
First, it loves unconditionally. "A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17. Unconditionally means even when you have heard about NASCAR and Matt Kenseth until you think you might scream. Or when hurtful words are spoken. Being accepting of each others' weaknesses and imperfections
Second, it involves trust and faithfulness. "There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24) Through thick and thin, distance and time, they will be there for you whenever you need them.
Thirdly, it involves the ability to speak truth even when it hurts. Proverbs 27:6 says "Wounds from a friend can be trusted." Is there anything more precious than a friend who is willing to stick by you and tell you in love, those hard things we really don't want to hear. To illuminate our sin and call us to a restored relationship with our Savior.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
|Cousins or Friends? Can't it be both?|