Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friendship

Friends! What would life be without them? I've read that “friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” Isn't that a great way to think of friendship? We don't have a choice about the family into which we were born and at times we’d just as soon not claim some of our kinfolks. However, friends are chosen to be a part of our life because of the bond that grows as we get to know one another. As I think of friendship, I realize there are varying degrees of friendship that we experience in our interactions with others. We enjoy visiting with some people and consider them friends in the general sense, but we do not seem to develop a deep level of interaction. But, sometimes we meet a person with whom we just hit it off and soon find we have many things in common. Little by little a seed of conversation develops into a deep friendship that enriches both our lives. These are very special friendships that span a long time—and they are a special blessing from God. (See "What is a Friend? http://sclew.journalspace.com/) A friend named May… Many years ago Hubby and I moved to Idaho. We had been foster parents in Oakland and we applied to be foster parents in Idaho. Soon after we applied, the foster care coordinator invited me to a monthly meeting of foster parents. She even arranged for another foster parent to pick me up for the meeting. I can’t remember what happened at the meeting, but I remember that May and I really clicked. We sat in her car in the driveway and talked for a long time when she stopped to drop me off at home after the meeting. That was the start of a very special friendship with many wonderful memories. May was twenty years older than me, but we became fast friends. I learned a lot about working with children from her and I always knew she would give me good advice to help solve any problem that arose with foster children. She was an amazing woman who had a great love for children. She and her husband became honorary grandparents for our children when we adopted. A few weeks ago when I was in Idaho, I visited May in the memory care center where she now resides. She has dementia and often doesn’t remember who people are. Though we used to joke about how she could “talk a blue streak,” she no longer can carry on a conversation. I was prepared for her not to recognize who I was, but she seemed to know. She even told one of the caregivers “This is my best friend.” I only wish I had told her more often how much I value our friendship when she was able to understand it. A friend who understands... Some years later through our adoption worker, I met Jo. She was also an adoptive mother and we became dear friends as we worked through many difficult times with our adopted children and their emotional baggage. There were times when our friendship helped us keep our sanity amid the multifaceted problems that came along with older children whom we adopted. We have discussed many problems over a cup of coffee. What balm it is to one’s spirit to know someone truly understands what you are going through! Though our children are now grown and out on their own, our friendship continues unhindered by time and distance, thanks to e-mail and cell phones. These are only two examples from several special friendships I’ve experienced in my lifetime. One of the joys of such friendships is that time and distance do not nullify these relationships. Whenever we get together in person, by e-mail, or on the phone, that special bond is there and it is still strong. We understand each other and we relate easily. Act now If there is one thing about friendship to remember, I’d say it is to tell your friends you appreciate their friendship and that you value having them in your life. Have you ever told your friends you value their friendship? Well, what are you waiting for? There are no guarantees that your friend will be alive tomorrow for you to tell them. People die of heart attacks and accidents every day, you know. NOW is a good time to acknowledge to special friends how much you treasure their friendships. NOW is a good time to thank God for these special friends and to pray for their needs. How is your life enriched by special friendships?

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