I'm sure each of you has heard countless analogies and metaphors about friendships and what a true friend is. True friends are like diamonds, true friends are like stars, true friends are like mornings, true friends are like angels, true friends are like a high school algebra word problem on the homework you almost forgot to do last night before bed... So forth and so on. Yes? I know that I have.
There are so many inspirational quotes that tell you how to be a good friend or what a good friend looks like. If you're looking for some sort of wall art or a nice little closing to a greeting card to let someone know you care, you don't have to look much further than an internet search and you have thousands of sayings to choose from, from Oscar Wilde to Winnie-the-Pooh.
What makes a good friend, I suppose, is in some ways, subjective. You may think a good friend is one who will give you the answers to your psychology homework, or maybe you think a good friend is one who will help you change a tire when you have a flat. Perhaps your best friend lets you borrow her dresses or your books. Whatever you think makes a good friend, I would hope that you have someone in your life who fits that bill.
I have been richly blessed with friendships in my life. I say that not to brag, but as a reflection after a wonderful, laid back day with my college roommate, one of my best friends in the world, after a year or so of not being in the same room together. She is one of my "lifelong" friends. I met her 14 years ago, nearly, and despite the fact that we can go a year without seeing each other or weeks without texting, when it comes down to it, I know she's there and she has been and will be through thick and thin.
But, I am so enormously spoiled that I know it doesn't stop there. I have a friend from my childhood that I moved next door to in 1991, and she is still one of my dearest friends. I have friends that I met as an adult that are equally important and wonderful to me. Some I see nearly weekly, others less frequently, but their love for me and my family is immeasurable, and I am reminded of it often. I have met friends through my job of 18 months that are some of my closest friends in this life. I have friends that I only know through the internet and have for over a decade that I consider my some of my very best as well.
And I have blood family that are some of my best friends.
Growing up, I know a best friend could change day to day, depending on whether you like the same boy band, book, color, food... you name it. Friendships seemed easier to come by and somewhat more trivial as a child. You broke up and made up more times than you can count, I'm sure.
As an adult, it seems much more difficult to find true, dear friends that you trust with your deepest secrets and your most broken bits of heart.
Somehow, though, I have this amazing group of best friends. I can't choose just one best friend like I could as a little girl. I have a handful. God has blessed me so richly. He's given me women all over the country who I could reach out to in an instant and they're there for me, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and so much more. It's an invaluable blessing, when I so often find myself feeling overwhelmed and lonely, living this life of a single parent with such young children. It's something truly special to have a select group of friends who can read through the lines of a text message and know when you're not really doing as okay as you claim, or that can almost read your heart as soon as you enter a room, even if there's a smile on your face.
I have known this for quite some time, but it seems that as I grow older and as I have gone through so much in the past few years, losing the one who meant the most to me, I see these friendships more clearly and with so much more value and gratitude. These people chose to stand beside me and stay with me even when the one who promised to stay forever walked right out. They have seen me at my best and my worst and they love me through it all.
I've been told many times that God knows what he is doing. It's true. Even when it's hard to trust him, especially knowing that, although he has reasons for what He is doing, you don't always get to know on this side of life.
I'm so thankful to my very best friends for all they bring into my life. But I am thankful also for each one of my friends, not only the best ones, because the prayers and love that I've been showered with, from friends near and far, old and new, have helped shape me into the woman I am today.
I pray that my own children are equally blessed in their lives, and that each of you are as well.