After living in another country for 8 years now I have to disagree with Michael W. Smith’s words– friends are not friends forever. Maybe if I lived years ago when people stayed in the same small town their whole life I’d feel differently but the reality is we live in a transient society where people move at least 2-3 times in their life.
I came upon a Facebook post that I shared 5 months after arriving into our new home in South America and it said,
Missing my friends. Friends are friends forever.
I don’t recall the sentiments that accompanied that FB post and though I was being silly I can only imagine that there was heartache, loss, tears, jealousy, sadness, and probably lots of hours spent sobbing as I looked through photos.
Looking back now, at this post, it made me ponder friendships. Friends are not friends forever.
At this point in my journey, I’m okay with that because even though I’m not guaranteed forever, I do have NOW!
Hear me out though, I don’t say this from a morbid or angry expat attitude, because I don’t have friends and I’m angry at the world. It’s actually quite the opposite, I am thankful to call many lovely and amazing people–friend. I am thankful to have friends in my life now that I knew when I was a little girl and some who are spread out all over the world. I am thankful to still connect and reconnect with those who I once shared a warm pot of tea with, over silly and deep conversations. I’m beyond blessed with some wonderful women in my life that I can call mis amigas.
But I can’t help but wonder that if maybe we stop thinking that our friends are forever then we’ll enjoy them more in the present, in the here and now.
Maybe we’ll stop taking them for granted and make more time to spend chatting over tea.
Maybe just maybe when we make peace with this reality we will open ourselves up to the people around us (where we are at) and stop pining away in jealousy and sadness over the Facebook post our friends “back home” are sharing continents or states away.
I’ve seen so many wonderful people come and go and sadly enough some left without connecting with others because they were looking to replace the friends they left behind. They were so stuck on finding the friend that was like “Sue”back in their old “home”, that she couldn’t see “Jane” who was right in front of her. I’ve also seen what happens when she stopped trying to find friends like her back at home “Sue” and she was finally able to discover the deep and real connections with Jane who was right there in front of her. It’s beautiful, it’s real, it can get messy and it’s wonderful!
Friends are not friends forever. Some are sweet pebbles that cause a ripple effect and draw us closer to what He has for us and life goes on. Others are there to walk a very short journey with us so we are not alone–that’s it. Then there are those who do become life long friends but here’s the kicker we have absolutely no idea who those friends will be because life happens, things happen and our circumstances change and guess what–people change.
Here’s the lovely thing, I can still cherish the lovely memories of my friends and thank God for those people who’ve come and gone in my life with out having a deep connection or even friendship with them now. Some still hold a special place in my heart. Then there are those friends I haven’t seen in years and I can pick up where we left off–laughing and challenging each other in the Lord. And there are friends who I haven’t seen in years and most likely will never see again.
It’s beautiful when we become women who do not put an end to the “Welcome”, even when we’ve had myriads of friends come and go from our life.
Maybe if we start seeing friends like the gift that keeps on giving we will realize that friends are not friends forever, but friendships are. So we will dive into this messy but beautiful thing called friendship and invest in the lives of the friends God has put on our path right at this very moment.
Maybe we’ll stop feeling bitter toward that friend who stopped returning our messages or that friend who got too busy for us or that friend who dissed you after you had a baby or that friend who….the list goes on, maybe we’ll stop being mad because they weren’t meant to be forever friends. Oh, I get being mad and bitter, I’ve given and given, time and time again and sometimes I’ve received nothing in return. So, I get the bitterness and protective walls built, but it got me no where. So, maybe there’s more than this “forever friend” thing–there’s now!
God is in the middle of that beautiful mess we call friendships. He is the glue that binds those friendships even in the absence of those friends–He is our forever.
Do I wish friends were forever? Heck yea! For the time being I’m willing to invest in now and maybe “now” will become forever but forever is a long time, like really long. So I have a feeling that I’ll have to wait for forever until the other side of heaven.
So, for the time being, I’m thankful for “NOW”.
And maybe along the way “now” will turn into “lifelong”.
I hope so but even if it doesn’t–it’s a risk I highly recommend taking.
But I have to enjoy and invest in “now”, to get to “lifelong”. Lifelong doesn’t just magically happen because we like the same hobbies and interest or our kids are in the same grade.
I’m just pondering friendships out loud maybe I’m tired and just need to go to bed or maybe I’m onto some thing.
What are your thoughts?