Why Bother With Old Friendships?
As a teacher, I have consoled more than a few of my fourth grade girls, who with teary eyes have said to me, “Nobody wants to be my friend.” When I tell them that I did not have any good friends until after I’d grown up and gotten married, they are shocked. Their tears dry up, at least for a moment, while they consider how much more unfortunate my life must have been in comparison to theirs.
“There is plenty of time to find good friends,” I tell them. “If not this year, maybe next.”
Recently, while sitting at dinner with a group of girlfriends that had come together for no other reason than to enjoy each other’s company, I felt the richness of my long held friendships.
I’ve known all of these women for a great length of time. Some of them for more than thirty years, my most recent friend, for ten. While sitting around the table, we reminisced about the men we fell in love with and why we fell in love with them.
“It was his legs,” said one friend.
“He was so handsome with his long brown hair,” said another.
None of us have been divorced and we acknowledged to each other our plans to stay married to the men we fell in love with even though they no longer have those attractive legs, even though their brown hair has turned to gray.
All these friends of mine are mothers and grandmothers, and some are still working in their careers. One is a nurse, one a teacher, one an office administrator and one a chaplain. With some emotion, we reflected on the days of our pregnancies, miscarriages and the those tough years of raising our teenagers.
We shared our concerns for each other’s health raising our glasses to toast the two at the table who have survived breast cancer. We exchanged stories about our grandchildren and our worries about what the future holds for them. In essence, we shared with each other what we’ve always shared with each other, our hearts.
My friendships with these women reach back a long time. They knew me in my younger days and I knew them. The seasons we have weathered together have made us more genuine with each other. We are familiar with one another, yet we do not take our fellowship for granted. Our sisterhood did not happen instantly, but over time and in that time our sense of our camaraderie deepened.
These friends of mine have made my life richer, and my heart happier. They accept me and my many idiosyncrasies, yet they also make me feel like a significant part of their lives. I may have had to wait a long time for these friends to become my confidants, but they were all worth waiting for.
Why bother with old friendships? It is worth it to note that we do not make old friends: we make new ones so that someday they too can become our old friends.