On Saturday afternoon, these two ladies stopped their chore list long enough to buzz over to the local bookstore and get a signed copy of my novel. That meant a lot to me for about a zillion reasons. But the biggest one was friendship. The three of us spent more than a decade living in the same small town, going to the same church, and sending our kids to the same church school. We were in one another’s lives every day. Sometimes twice or three times. And, we became true friends. In the past decade, though, things have changed. A lot. None of us live in that little town anymore. We don’t go to the same church. We haven’t had a sit down conversation in years. And yet, these ladies represent several who’ve remained my loyal friends despite distance and differences. Here (from First Corinthians 13) are three ways we’ve made that happen: Believe the Best You know how news spreads. I’m sure some of the details of my life in the last ten years have arrived at other doorsteps with an interesting spin. It is easy to watch a friend from cyber-distance and question why she is doing what she does. A true friend, though, believes the best. (Until she finds time to pick up the phone or dash off an email and say, ‘what the heck?’) Hope the Best Of course, you can believe the best all day long and a friend might still make what you consider a bad choice. At that point, we hope the best. (On our knees and in fervent appeal sometimes.) If we are hoping the best, we can give a genuine hug to a wandering soul when our paths cross someday. Endure all Things In other words, we never give up. I’m not sure this phrase from the Bible means we stand around while a friend slings arrows and insults. I think sometimes, in this world, we have to walk away for our sanity and health. But I do think it means we hold on, deep in our souls, for the final day of victory when all true friendships will be restored. In the meantime, let’s keep holding onto one another in our hearts. I treasure friendships like these that have endured the hard times and remained intact. So, I’m sending out cyber-hugs to each of you. (Feel free to pass it on.)
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