Yesterday a friend of mine brought in the obituary of her grandfather for me to read at work. It is strange to think that the journey of a whole life's worth of living can be summed up in 4 pointed and perfectly typed times new roman sentences. Looking at the newspaper what his summarized life didn't come down to was the adventures taken. Places the person went. What occupation they held. How much money they made. From reading I don't know what their home looked like, what they liked to do, or what their status was, all I know them by was who they loved and who loved them. After our last breath all we have left are our relationships. Isn't that all that really matters, all we've ever really had all along anyways?
The same friend at work asks me over to her place almost every week since meeting me. She is one of the many people that I think of as a great friend to me. It gets me thinking...what is it exactly that makes someone a great friend? In my thinking I believe it all comes down to being intentional about making time for each other. We need to be intentional in our relationships if they are to be the kind that grow us closer and deeper to someone.
I am a firm believer that we are blessed by the presence of certain people in our lives to support us, see us through, laugh with until it hurts, or cry with because life hurts so much for each season of our lives. At the end of each season there is always the bittersweet feeling of being ready to move forward but sad to leave the group you are with behind. I remember waking up the morning after my grade 8 goodbye party with fresh tears that blurred together pages of yearbook memories ome the slow, dawning realiztion that sharing life everyday with those friends was gone. I remember something similar happening at the goodbye party after highschool- a wave of nostalgia coming over me at times when I thought about the goodbyes I had said to people leaving to different Universities. And so the cycle continues to University, and then to tour, and then after tour...In hindsight most of the people I cried over leaving in grade school and highschool are no longer apart of my life. The same can be said for recent experiences too. So what makes a good friend? And what makes the kind of friend that spans the years of many seasons?
I don't believe it has to do with how close you live to someone. Tour taught me that the depth of a friendship is unchanged by distance. I don't believe it is shared circumstances that keep you close. Sometimes being in the same experience together is the only thing that gives you reason to appreciate someone you normally wouldn't even make the effort to come to know. When the season you have shared with someone has passed it is only being intentional about making time to talk, share, and continue to get to know someone that keeps you together.
Sometimes it comes easily, sometimes life just makes the effort a more concious one. But in the end I am reminded this week to make the effort. Make the phone call. More time to talk over coffee. Take time for your friends over your work. Relationships sustain life. Relationships are life. Pick up a paper and read over any obituary and imagine yours...how have you made the time to love?