The best antiques are old friends

pexels-photo-296649.jpegI highly value friendship.  In my beloved quotes notebook, a plethora of thoughts on this topic gracefully unfurl over many pages.

“We need to have people who mean something to us, people to whom we can turn knowing that being with them is like coming home.” ~ Anonymous

My family roamed far from home for a number of years, moving around the country wherever my husband’s work took us.   At each spot we landed, God graciously provided amazing and supportive friends.  Friendships changed over the years, but I still cherish those far-away friends, even though many miles separate us, and stay connected through emails, social networking, and even this blog.

George Washington once said, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

Wise words spoken by a founding father of our country, I imagine he said this regarding other nations, beseeching our new country to be cautious about who America’s true friends were and which nations we could trust.   But I think we can extend his observation into our private lives as well.

I consider myself vastly blessed to possess some faithful and loyal relationships – tried and true friends in whom I have utmost trust – which have endured the long haul.   Just this week, I was granted the gift of spending time with two of them in person and one via phone conversation.

These three dear friends are named Mae, Annie, and Leigh (not their real names but they will recognize who they are).    My friendship journey with Mae commenced when we were five years old, just two little whippersnappers enjoying play time together.  We attended the same schools and church and our lives have always been entwined.

Annie and I met as school chums in first grade, staying friends all through elementary school, junior and senior high; we even attended the same college.   Leigh, younger than I, became my close friend when her parents built a home next door to my parents when we were kids; she was maid of honor at my wedding almost 34 years ago.

My friendship with each of these wonderful women has stood the test of time.  We never lost contact with each other as adults, through marriages and raising families, even though I moved away and they stayed in the region surrounding our hometown.

For 52 years, Mae and I have remained friends.   My friendship with Annie has lasted 51 years, and my history with Leigh encompasses well over 45 years.  These gals know me.  I know them.   They are women I turn to for a listening ear, women who give me good counsel, women with whom I have rejoiced, and women with whom I have wept.  They have seen me at my best and witnessed me at my worst, and yet they still like me!  I love them and they will always be my friends.

Time spent with any of the three evolves into a marathon because we have so much to discuss.  I have shared every important aspect of my life with these women and probably way too much trivia as well.  I know for certain that items I disclose to them is never turned into gossip fodder, and I keep their shared life stories just as closely guarded.

On Wednesday, I lunched with Annie.  We had over six months of life to catch up with since we last met. My time with her always seems too short because we discuss everything from soup to nuts and still have more to say.  She encourages me, supports me, yet isn’t timid about giving me food for thought when I need a change in attitude.   That’s why she is one of my most trusted confidantes.

We have shared a lifetime of memories together and we share our faith in God as well.  This quote in my cherished notebook describes what kind of friend Annie is:  “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”  ~ Anonymous

Mae stopped by my house for a visit on Thursday afternoon.  She couldn’t have picked a better time.  I was feeling low, actually physically not well either, and her visit lifted me right up out of my fretting, causing me to forget my physical maladies and easing my troubled mind as well.  Spending time with a dear old friend proved to be the magic elixir to make me feel better that day.   As always, we never ran out of words to say, thoughts to convey, or stories to tell.

She knows my history and I know hers.  We’ve grieved together as we’ve lost loved ones to death, and our friendship is like a comforting shawl we can wrap ourselves in to protect us from the cold reality of this world.  When I read this quote, I thought of Mae:  “A person is only complete when she has a true friend to understand her, to share all her passions and sorrows with, and to stand by her throughout her life.” ~ Anonymous

I’ll see my friend Leigh when I attend her daughter’s high school graduation party soon, so I spoke with her last night by phone to tell her we’d be making the trip to her home for the festivities.   That conversation lasted over three hours! When I talk with this good friend, it really is like coming home.  As next-door neighbors growing up, she and I practically lived at each other’s houses.  I love her parents because they were always like second parents to me.

Leigh has always been someone with whom I can share my innermost thoughts – be they good or bad.  We often reminisce about our childhoods, so when I ran across this quote, I automatically thought of her: “When we are grown, we’ll smile and say we had no cares in childhood’s day, but we’ll be wrong. ‘Twill not be true, I’ve this much care… I care for you.” ~Anonymous

Obviously, I don’t get to see these friends every day or even very often.   But just when I need them, they are there for me.  I count that as the most amazing gift.

As I give thanks for these three dear ones on Page 16, Chapter 7, in my Opportunity book of life, I hope they view me as a gift as well – one of those rare gifts, the kind you never want to exchange for another, or re-gift to someone else, because you just want to treasure it for yourself since that’s the kind of gift they are to me.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up.”  ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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