It had been twenty years or more since we had seen one another; we've known each other since ages 13 and 16. She sent a text message saying she was in the area and asked if I had time to get together. My thoughts frantically ran over the years wondering where would we begin to catch up as I made the twenty minute drive. Walking the busy street, phones to our ears, attempting to locate one another, we wave. We embrace there standing on the sidewalk outside of her hotel. After gushing over how long it had been and delighting in how well each of us wore our ages, we walked around the corner to dine at a Mexican restaurant. We quickly ducked down into the gaping hole of the past, spending a couple of hours steeped in the details and drama of each others' lives. The server brought the bill and slowly we drifted back into the present moment. Ah! It was as if something had been missing and was now found. Nothing compares to the heart's recognition of a truly good, old friendship; it is a friendship where both hold one another in high regard no matter how many years have stuffed themselves between visits.
Do you recall singing an old Scout song, by Sue Lynch, that begins like this: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold”? I find myself singing this song as I am reminded how significant old friendships can ease the passage into new ones. Four years ago in October I left a mid-western town I called home for fourteen years. Not only had I lived there many years, but I had lived in the same area previously from 1979 to 1985. I have lots of friends there, some I have known since college. I have worked hard to stay in touch with as many of them as possible, but still I feel the connections grow weak while memories and longings stay strong.
New friendships form when we open up and share burdens and stories, as well as make time to create and play together. These friendships enrich the experience of living in a new place. But nothing has surprised me more than how often I am getting to see old friends, friends I have not seen in years. It feels as if I came to southern California, not only to marry my dear husband, but to create a collage of new memories with old friends in a new chapter of life. The joy of renewing acquaintances and catching up has been rich beyond anything I could have imagined. New friends are being made, but the pockets of time given to fellowship are lined with gold.
A friend in her grandmother years still meets with her best friends from school days at the beach every year. Some of you may keep in touch with your best friend from childhood. Technology has made it easier to keep in touch even without flying somewhere. I would love to hear your stories of getting reacquainted with an old friend. How do you and your friends stay connected in the busy days of raising kids, going back to college, working, or helping with grandchildren?