Some people drift into our lives for just a short sojourn. You’re friends with those people for a season.
I have always believed that those friendships exist for a reason, either to aid your friend along this journey called life or to encourage you. But sometimes circumstances change and the friendship goes by the wayside, just slowly fading away.
Some folks though are lifetime friends. No matter what changes may occur, these special people have been and will continue to be your friends for life. Even if you don’t see them all the time, they are there for you when you really need them and vice versa. And when you do reconnect, it’s like you’ve never been apart.
Recently I had lunch with one of my lifetime friends. We’ve known each other since first grade and our friendship has stood the test of time for 50 years. Unfortunately, we live far enough away from each other to prevent us from seeing one another often, but every couple of months or so, we arrange to meet for lunch at a mall restaurant midway between our homes.
My relationship with this friend is aptly described by a passage written in the 1800’s by English novelist and poet Dinah Mulock Craik in her novel, A Life For a Life: “Friendship is the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring all right out just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful friendly hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of comfort, blow the rest away.”
That personifies the kind of friendship I experience when I am blessed to converse with this particular lifetime friend. She is one of the few people with whom I can truly “let down my hair.” She has known me for so long, in good times and not so good times.
I know I can share my innermost thoughts with her and she won’t criticize or judge me or walk away saying, “That girl’s nuts!” I would trust this woman with my very life, and I only hope I am as great a friend to her as she is to me.
Our lunch was lengthy…well, not the actual eating of soup and salad, but the conversation that followed was full and meaty. We had so many life moments to catch up on – her daughter’s recent wedding, updates of my three adult children’s lives.
We shared joys – her young friend’s getting his heart transplant on Thanksgiving Day! What an amazing answer to prayer! We shared trials and tribulations. And as always happens when we spend our quality time together, our discussion is seasoned with God’s Word. We marvel at what God continues to accomplish in our lives and the insights He provides for us and teaches us. What joy it is to share those things with a beloved believing friend!
Sharing time with a friend like this is such a treasure that you don’t want the occasion to end. But we did comprehend the rather pointed hint from our waitress when she visited our table for the umpteenth time and asked, “Will there be anything else before you finally go?” (Huge emphasis on the word go!) That prompted us to check our watches, realize we had been there for well over three hours, tip our waitress again and exit the restaurant.
But still we weren’t quite ready to depart, so we stood in the mall corridor and chatted some more, eventually sitting down on a bench to continue our conversation. Time marches on though and we needed to wind up our day and head back to our homes, husbands and daily life. Why is it that immensely enjoyable times like this must always come to an end?
I imagine my experience with my dear lifetime friend is just a very tiny glimpse of what heaven will be like. We will fellowship with beloved believers, worshiping and praising our Almighty God face to face, and that fellowship we share will be so sweet, but – here’s the good part! – that blessed time will never, ever end!
“A true friend is the gift of God, and He only who made hearts can unite them.” ~Robert South, British minister