“I have bad news,” my friend announced on our weekend walk.
“Oh, no! What’s going on?” I held my breath as possibilities flashed through my mind.
“My landlord called, and I have to move.”
Relief was my first emotion. I’d heard too many acquaintances and family members share cancer diagnoses recently, and I silently thanked God for her health.
I listened quietly to her story and the plans she had made in the days between her phone call and her confession to me. She had time to process the news and had begun to take charge of the situation, planning her best response to a disappointing circumstance. When I applauded her acceptance and courage to move forward, she admitted to suffering through sleepless nights and anxiety-induced health consequences before taking the bull by the horns.
I didn’t have the same time to explore my emotions. So, after my initial response that the news could have been worse, I felt sadness. We’ve been friends for a long time, first having met over fifteen years ago when we taught at the same school. Teachers and mothers, we discovered we also both enjoyed brisk walks. And by “brisk,” I mean there were few people who could keep up with us as we pounded the sidewalk on our lunch breaks!
When I switched schools, our friendship changed. We only saw each other when our girlfriends got together for baby showers or cottage weekends. It was challenging to maintain a close relationship without daily interaction.
However, several years later, we became neighbors when my husband and I bought a condo in the building where my friend lived! We were excited to walk again and ride our bikes together, too.
During the pandemic, our bond strengthened even more. Every day, after finishing our school hours online, we walked and debriefed. It was nice to have a friend who lived a similar experience of teaching young children from a computer screen.
We still walk as often as we can, sharing our lives, always in constant chatter. Following this latest news bomb, we talk about continuing our regular treks, but will we?
Friendships often ebb and flow, evolving as our lives change. We become close for a while and then later drift apart. Our affection doesn’t usually diminish, but circumstances are the culprits that drive wedges between us. Busy lives or geographical distances prevent us from staying close.
I’ve always envied people who maintain friendships since childhood. My family moved every couple of years, so I learned to prevent my roots from going too deeply into the friendship soil. What was the point when I would leave again in what felt like a few months?
When I look back on my adult friendships, I see a rollercoaster social life in blocks of years where I was close to one individual at a time. These special friendships often occurred when one of us really needed the other; they were tied to traumatic life events. We sheltered in place together to survive those storms. Then, when the strong winds ended, the gentle breeze blew us in different directions—still friends, but friends from a distance.
The Bible mentions friendship often. I especially like that Jesus tells us in John 15:12-15 that He is our friend. When we accept Him into our hearts and show His love to others, we become besties with Jesus! This is an unbreakable bond unless we walk away and intentionally sabotage our intimacy.
While human friendships evolve and sometimes fade away, Jesus will remain.
Do you have a close friendship with Jesus? Unlike some human relationships, this Friend will love you unconditionally, and He will never break your confidence or stab you in the back. And as tight-knit as those childhood friendships can be, this relationship is more desirable.
Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). And that’s what He did when He died on the cross for us. That’s the action of a committed friend!
What’s more, the supernatural nature of Jesus means that He can be best friends with each one of us!
Jesus, thank You for earthy friendships. It is a blessing to share our lives with others. I especially thank You for being my friend—one who is always loyal, sticks closer than a brother, and picks me up when I fall. I did nothing to earn Your devotion, but I gladly accept Your hand to walk this life together. Amen.
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