I took a flight yesterday to spend a few days with my one of my best friends in life. Our mothers were dear friends when we were born – so we share memories and friendship from birth. I have never NOT known this friend. However, we are very different people in many ways.

As little girls our interest and abilities were night and day. I loved sports and would talk her in to going to various camps with me; she wanted to be the athlete. She loved dance and I wanted to be the graceful ballerina and dancer like her. (Yeah, I smile at what felt like emotional scars being formed as I remember the one dreadful dance recital she talked me in to doing with her when I was about 6 years old…. Orange sequined and tight body suit with a tutu…ugghhh. She looked adorable and cute as could be. I remember feeling like an uncoordinated sea cow – and determined then that the dance gig was not my thing!)

True Acceptance Embraces & Values Our Differences

Although our differing interests and abilities began to lead us apart due to what activities we chose to engage in, we still enjoyed our friendship. We shared a fascinating similarity in our senses of humor. We laughed and cackled uncontrollably at many things. We shared a private world of make believe. And we shared our dreams with one another.

An acceptance for one another – and all of our differences – developed as we grew. We knew one another very well; we knew the good, the bad, and even the ugly. And whom do you often hurt the most? Those you love the most.

Needless to say, there were times where we knowingly and inadvertently hurt one another. And there were many confrontations to address issues with the intent of making things “right” between us.

Life brings hardships and sometimes personal catastrophe; often these things occur “to” us (no fault of our own), and often we bring these challenging and devastating things upon us from our own stupid choices. I am thankful that as our paths in life took their own courses, there was an unspoken commitment of lifelong friendship. Through our personal losses – from the sudden death of my dad, to family turmoil issues, tough times in life and marriage, questions of direction in life, and unforeseen challenges – I knew she was there for me, and I know she has known I’m there for her.

She had an exciting career while I raised my small children. Later, when my kids were both in school, my career took on new challenges and exciting developments – and she juggled life with little ones. It wasn’t like we were united by our seasons of life after college. Yet there was a commitment to stay in touch and listen when needed, and take tiny windows of opportunity to maintain our relationship (a state away from one another), and to continue making memories together.

Many of the college juniors and seniors I teach at Gonzaga University express a sense of fear at the approach of graduation and the web of community and college friendships coming to a close in this unique and special phase of life. And life and friendships and the focus on social lives WILL change as they enter life after college.

But it struck me this week that while there simply isn’t enough time in life to develop and maintain and build all of the friendships we’d like to with so many great people we come to know, we can enjoy each new friendship that comes our way. We can choose to invite new friendships and enjoy knowing and being known. We can make new memories with new friends who we come to value and love as life continues. I wish there was more time to spend with the many wonderful people I treasure; savoring splinters of time with them remains a focus in my life.

And choosing to develop the oldest friendship I know sharpens me. Today, I am sitting in my childhood “besty’s” lake house in NW WA on our girls’ get-away. And while my daughter in college texts me, her youngest baby in diapers naps in the other room. In many ways, there’s still more different about our lives than is the same.

But by choosing to remain connected to a life-long friend who knows just about everything there is to know about me, and loves me all the same… I am given a gift. I receive honest and piercing feedback in grace when needed. And we share many laughs that makes life all the more fun.

There is truth in the Proverb 18:24 – my paraphrase 🙂

A person with many indiscriminately chosen friends has trouble, but a genuine friend sticks with you through the good, bad, and ugly.

Thinking and Personal Development:

As we live life in our busy culture, which limited number of friendships will you intentionally plan to invest in? Name them.

What does it look like with each of those individuals to maintain AND build your friendship? Brainstorm what regular “touch-points” could be with each; it will differ with each one because of your current responsibilities and seasons in life and proximity.

Calendar or set your mind to follow-through in maintaining each friendship.

Reach out and connect with each one.

Plan time to go beyond maintaining your past-established friendship and BUILD fresh memories and fun together.

I remain grateful for the gift of lifelong friendship.

Dr. Heidi Scott, AKA the Orange Tutu Girl (who instead needed to be on a soccer field!)