For some reason, often, late at night my thoughts consume me. I guess you could say that that particular time of day is when my brain enters writer mode.
Tonight, I can’t seem to sleep for various reasons. But one of them is because my heart has been burdened with the idea of what friendship really is. Not your basic definition of friendship, but more of the way the relationships work and how people view them differently.
You see…I’m a friends kind of person. My friends mean the world to me. They always have. I often will choose my friends over family, if that makes sense. My friends have always been important to me and when I have good friends in my life that is when I seem to thrive. But not everyone is like that. I know people who prefer boyfriends, or immediate family. People who aren’t quite as invested in friendships as I am because it isn’t as important to them. I have a difficult time understanding the way those people work because my friends mean SO much to me.
I have gone through phases of friendship in my life. Two of my friends I’ve been friends with since elementary school. We love each other I dare say more than sisters. It is a comfortable friendship. All secrets are exposed. There isn’t any of the tip-toeing around things. We are blunt and honest with each other. We can go months without talking and then, when we do, everything is as it has always been. In high school we were really close. Inseparable. I was astonished at how these relationships somehow maintained themselves through college, even though we were in different places and going through different things in our lives. We just fit. I chalked it up to “forever friendship.” Even after graduation and getting jobs, we were still close and made sure we saw each other whenever possible. But since Hubs and I moved so far away, things are a little different.
In college I made friends with an AMAZING group of girls. We were all in a freshman Bible study group together. Our freshman year of college was rocky for all of us with adjusting from high school to college, and break-ups, and even major family deaths. We formed a bond that I honestly think will be there forever. Our relationships were based on Christ and just good old fashioned girl fun. We had sleepovers. Dinner nights. Weekend movie-thons. The thing that interested me the most about this relationship is that as we got older, we all changed, yet somehow, stayed together. Some of us met our husbands; we all worked toward graduation with different goals. We were involved in different churches. I guess you could say we were just developing as people. All but three of us are married now (and might I add those three are having the times of their lives). Three of us have kids, one of us is expecting, one trying. We all live in different cities. Birmingham, Decatur, Auburn, Kentucky, Florida. We’re all over the place and we have all really changed from who we were when we first met. Yet somehow…still friends. Still making best efforts to get together whenever possible and to keep up with each other.
When I entered the workplace, Hubs and I were at a weird place in our lives. We were newlyweds. He was still in school (grad school). I was working. We lived in our comfortable little college town. I made some close friends that I worked with. One friend, I’d had most of my college classes with, and another, I don’t know how our paths never crossed while in school. The third was a sweet angel sent to us from Dothan. We bonded. We ate dinner together every Monday night. We kind of turned into a teacher clique. It was fun. It made the long hours bearable. And then…we moved. And they went on without me.
When we got to Florida, I was clinging to my old life. I called my teacher friends and some of my college friends, and even the high school girls. We texted. I longed to be lesson-planning with them. And then I got involved in a Mom’s group with a local church.
Over the past two years, the friends I have made from that Mom’s group have changed my life. But I’ve noticed that I’m back to being in friend-driven mode. And though we don’t try to be, I wonder if from the outside we look like a mommy clique. We support each other. We laugh. We have really stupid inside jokes.
I tell you all this because I’m wondering how these relationships translate in the grand scheme of things. I have no doubt that God placed these people in my life at those times because we needed each other. But I wonder…can you really be “forever friends?” Does distance really change friendships? At what point do you get so exhausted in maintaining these friendships do you just give up? Is that why “those other people” cling to family and spouses only so that they don’t have to hop from friendship phase to friendship phase?
I was thinking about how right now, my friends here have taken over that best friend slot. I LOVE them. More than I can tell you. But then I started wondering about what would happen if we ever move from here. Will we still be friends? Will they come visit? Will we come visit? Will I have to start all over AGAIN with new friends who don’t understand me and know how quirky and weird I am?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, and while I know that God will work it out, I guess I’ll just try to enjoy what I’ve got while I’ve got it. I love my friends—ALL my friends and hopefully, they know it.