The Blessing of Lifelong Friendships
I was reflecting recently on those friendships that we have where we meet someone when we are young and somehow, through time and circumstances, we still find ourselves together.
My dad had a friend that lasted his whole life, from the time he was a young man until he passed away. They were such different people, but they had a bond that held them together over the course of their lives. They shared great stories and had great laughs and even when time or distance kept them apart, they could catch up right where they left off.
My husband has this also with a couple of his high school friends, but one especially. They met when they were young and have stuck by one another ever since. Even though life has taken them in totally different directions, they share a bond that makes explanations unnecessary. That is the best thing about these types of friendships. You know each other. You give of yourself and you share in the enjoyment of friendship without the constant need for explanation.
That is such a relief.
I have been fortunate enough to have this myself. I was the total opposite of popular when I was young, but in certain unique situations I have met and maintained close friendships for many years, and in some cases, for most of my life.
One little girl that I met on the playground when she was almost eight years old is now a cherished friend, a nurse, a wife, and a mother. While we don’t have the same closeness that we did as children (she would walk to my house and slip right in the back door without ever having to knock), I know that whenever I need her, she is there for me.
Another girl that I met the year after that, an immigrant (a bond we now both share), we had a somewhat tumultuous youth together but ended up good friends. I was twelve when I met her and we are still in close contact with one another, and she is one of those people I can just share my heart with and she is ready to share her thoughts with me. Again, no explanations. She has known me since childhood. She knows who I am without me having to say it.
In the eleventh grade, I met the girl who later went on to become my best friend as adults. Incidentally, I met her only a few months before I met my husband, and so she was close at hand to witness my early on infatuation with him. With her, words are hardly needed at all. While different in many ways, we share many similar passions, and I find we become delighted or outraged by the same things, especially when it comes to politics and humor. She is the one I can just let my hair down with, and even though she has seen me at my very worst, she loves me. Best yet, she reminds me when I can be better than I am behaving, and not every friend has that sort of fortitude.
In every case, I can be me without explanation. I have no need to strive to be understood because I am. These friendships provide relief for me, knowing there are people who will take advantage and demand an explanation out in the world, but from these women and in these long friendships, I have been blessed to have someone to turn to and without explanation receive so much support.
Friendship is often hard (like any relationship) and often grows best only through overcoming trials, but the proof is in the outcome when the work is put into it, it grows into something very worthwhile.