May 4, 2009
Growing Old Together
This past week end, I had the opportunity to be together with some wonderful friends whom I have known for 15-20 years. As we talked and played and prayed together, lots of memories were highlighted.
We remembered how each of us came to know Christ as our Savior. We remembered being there for each other when our parents passed away. We remembered when the first of our kids became a teenager and disappointed us. We remembered the pain of marriages strained and the joy of babies born. We listed the dumb things that have made us belly laugh over the years…the great toilet papering escapades, the dinners out, the fun game nights, the weekends at concerts, the prayer circles and on it went.
After all the “we remember when” comments, it occurred to me that one of the biggest blessings of life is the opportunity to grow old with dear friends. I think Solomon was hinting at this when he remarks in Proverbs 27:10 “Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father…” There is something quite precious about “old” friends.
New friends are fun and can provide an exciting new “leg” of the journey, but with them everything has to be specific. You can’t assume anything. Everything is fresh, but unknown. But friendships that have stood the test of time give structure, meaning and substance to our lives. We don’t have to stop and clarify every thought; they just fill in the gaps with what they already know.
Old friends provide traditions to copy and savor. And they are like a mirror, we see ourselves in a clearer way when we spend time with them. We can’t hide our imperfections; they already know about them and love us anyway!
When Aristotle said that friendship is a single soul in two bodies, he was trying to express how connected true friends can be. It is that connectedness that creates the depth of relationship that must be nurtured and cherished. There are so many benefits to long time friends.
Dear friends stimulate us (Prov. 27:17), they encourage us (Acts 2:42), they support us (Ecc. 4:9) and at all times, they love us (Prov. 17:17). They have a special place of importance in our hearts (I Sam. 20:17) and we should treasure their friendship. Paul cherished his dear friends in the church at Philippi and remarked in Phil. 1:3, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…”
I too thank God for every memory of my dear friends. It is a precious thing to be able to list the names of people who would happily take your “2 am phone call” and rush to do anything for you.
So today would be a great time to stop and cherish your list of dear “old” friends. Pick up the phone and give them a call. Let them know what they mean to you. Surprise them with a note. Express your love and assure them (again) of your commitment to them and their family. Remind them that you love growing old together!
Warmest Regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools