I have all kinds of friends. First and foremost, there are my friends who are also my family - like my husband, my mom and my sister. Then there are the people that I have been friends with for so long that they might as well be my family. There are friends that I see once in a blue moon because they live so far away from me. I also have friends that live within an hour's driving distance, and I still only see them once in a blue moon (thank you gas prices!). Thankfully, I have friends that I see weekly or even more often than that. There's no denying that friends are the most valuable gift God gives us (aside from salvation, but, duh!, didn't we already know that one?).
Seriously, Father puts such amazingly wonderful people in our lives. I have two very specific friends that if something is going on in my life and I need to let it all out, they are just a phone call away. And they don't judge me for my frustration. They don't try to fix my problems. They just listen and commiserate with me, if necessary. Of course, that road goes both ways.
Isn't it fantastic how many different, beautiful people with whom we share this life? I am completely dumbfounded by how blessed I am. I have friends that if no one else in the world thought I was sane because of the choices I make, they would stick with me. I have no doubt that they pray for me just as I pray for them. We uphold each other in the tough times and do the happy dance when things go our way. Wouldn't life be dull without our friends?
My friendships range in age from 31 years to just a few months (that's saying something because I just turned 33 last week!). Some of them were instant friendships like my college roomie, April. The first day we met we were immediately friends and wrangled the system so we could room together. She's on her way back to Mongolia with her husband right now for another term as missionaries.
Some of them took time to develop like my friendship with my sister. You know, we had the "you're a pain, no you're a pain" syndrome growing up. I guess that's what happens sometimes when your less than two years apart in age. But, we've come to appreciate and value each other as more than just sisters. We're friends, and when no one else can understand where we're coming from, we have each other.
There is just nothing else on earth like a friend. A friend is a tender heart, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and two arms to hug you. But they are so much more than that. They embody so many of the characteristics we want to see in ourselves and often some of the things that drive us crazy about who we are. No matter where I go or what I do, I know I have an amazing group of friends supporting me.
And wherever I go, I know that Papa will always gift me with a new friend or two. So, to all my friends past, present and future - thank you for being who you are in my life. I think it's important that you know how much you are loved and appreciated. Each of you has made me a better person for knowing you. I just thought you should know.
Now, go hug a friend!