I can’t recall for certain, but I think it was late spring the day I chose to sit next to my new friend. I’m a Lone Ranger in my immediate family – being the only one who attends church nearly every Sunday. I’m a free agent in the pew finding department. So when I saw her I plopped down and said, “Hi!” She smiled and seemed happy to see me. We always have time before services for the “holy hubbub” that surrounds people content to be in the house of the Lord. So we cheerfully began talking about the women’s retreat we’d just attended.
The details of that event fully wrung out, she then told me she and her family would soon be moving. This saddened me because it meant she wouldn’t be coming to worship, sitting at coffee hour, or hanging out with us for much longer. We talked about friendships and how they come and go and that’s when she gave me this saying that I’ve carried with me for several years now.
Friend for a reason, friend for a season, friend for life.
It gave me pause because the truth of that simple sentiment hit home. It gave me a nugget to nibble for the rest of the day and got me thinking – always dangerous.
Remember your first best friend? You were probably quite young. When I was about eight I had a friend and we wished we were sisters. She had three brothers, two of them twins, an older, good looking one, and her mother had a drinking problem. Even at that young age I knew our playtime was a refuge for my best bud. On the face of it this girl had everything, a pretty bedroom, lots of clothes, her dad drove a new car, and their home was immaculate. But I remember bits and snatches of the neighborhood gossip and I felt sorry for Cathy. She would have been a good sister.
In high school I had a friend who was a transplanted Texan. What a Southern Belle Judy was! She lived with her older sister and her husband as their parents were deceased. She also had a car and boy did we have fun cruising the streets of Southern California of an evening. We both had to be in by nine so we never got into real trouble, but it was kind of fun pretending we might have. She moved back to Texas before our senior year because, of course, everything is better in Texas, right?
Charging forward about forty years and thinking of other friends, I cherish those I’ve had for years. The lifetime friends; some like sisters. And my sisters, all five of them, fit into this category, as does my remaining brother. I’m so very far away from them, but there’s an instant rapport when we’re together. Blood ties and friend ties do that.
I don’t like to put people into categories except very generally and I guess that’s why I love the words my friend for a season, Terry, gave to me that Sunday. Perhaps she was given to me for a reason to impart something to keep with me for life. As though Someone knew just what I needed from her that day.
I’m thinking I could go on and on about friends and what they are and mean to us, but somehow I think you get it. And sometimes a few succinct words say it all.
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