It's been said many times that as we get older, it gets more difficult to make friends. Maybe it's not necessarily difficult to make them, it just isn't as easy to come across them, I suppose.
I have found this to be true. I look at my children, and they will make friends almost instantly. Sure, most won't be lifelong friends, and half of the time, these "new friends" are people they'll never see again, but they're so non-judgmental and uninhibited in their friendship making that it's something in which I find myself awestruck.
I remember being in kindergarten, like my oldest is now, and making new friends. Thanks to the technology of my generation, I am actually still friends with many from my youngest school-age years, even if we aren't close, we can connect on Facebook and keep up with each other's lives. I am still friends with my high school best friend, and my college best friend as well. I have a handful of online best friends who have also been there for 16 years or so.
I have been blessed with the fortune of making a few really close friends in the end of my college years, as well as a really close friend in the beginning of my motherhood years. I have one close friend from my the end of my childbearing years as well (that makes me sound much older than I am, I suppose).
I then found my world quaking and myself withdrawn and secretive about it. My walls and my guard went up, and I shut myself down in many ways. I got a new job and met new people, but I didn't really allow myself to make friends with them for a while. I was terrified that what they would find, they would not like, and then I would be an outsider who was nothing but drama and chaos.
As time went on, I opened up to some, and grew quite close. I gained a few of my current closest friends in life at that job, and I am so very blessed. Through that job, I began attending my church, where I have met even more people, that I would consider to be more than just acquaintances, they're my friends.
Much of these friendships, while I wouldn't say are superficial in any way, are not deep-rooted at this time, though many have the potential to be so. I hope that more become rooted as time goes on.
That said, this evening, I had an experience that caught me off-guard.
It was a transitional experience, I think.
I think I made a new friend.
This friend.. well, I've known her a while, and I thought of her as my friend at church anyway, but as I said, not necessarily a deep rooted friendship. But tonight, I found myself feeling like a school-age child as I went home, realizing I had exchanged phone numbers with my friend and text her a couple times.
Now, this friend, I've seen her and conversed with her many times, topics both light and deep, and we've exchanged quite a few hugs. I always enjoy seeing her, and I have hoped she felt the same.
Tonight though, I don't know what really switched. Perhaps nothing really did, except that I really sat down and realized I had this friend, who had been there for quite some time, and she really did want to pursue my company and my friendship. She told me "I love your heart."
Immediately after, the enemy was on my back telling me that people couldn't really "love my heart," it was just something you say to be nice.
Ugh. At least I knew it was a lie.
It got me thinking about making friends as an adult. As a mom. As a single mom. As someone who had recently let down her guard in a big way, and is allowing new people in without them really having to "prove" that I could trust them, because I'm not nearly as guarded as I was even a few months ago.
Where I am in life, I do not get out much. I go to work most hours of the week, I go to church, and I go to the grocery store. That's pretty much it for any invested time regularly. So, in line with my invested time, most of the meaningful friendships I've been blessed with over the past two years are through work, and one that was mostly through church.
But tonight, I realized I made a new friend, in my new season of life, with my new hope and my new faith. And for some reason, that seems like a big deal. I am excited to get to know her better in the time to come, and I am so very thankful that she feels the same way.
I have been so very blessed by the rich friendships I carry in life, especially through the hardest struggles and deepest valleys I've been through. But, there's always room for new friends, too.