“There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to, once you find them,” sang Jim Croce. Summer days are like this. Even though the sun lingers long after the children are tucked in, there is not enough time to do the things you want.
My husband and I spent a handful of wonderful days listening to the lake lap the shore while we lay in our bed – windows flung open, inviting the cool night in.
It was idyllic summer caught momentarily in four days. Tender grass, emerald water, soft sand, bright cherries, vines in rows and padded chairs in deep shade. We could hear life grow.
Yet, all this would have been dulled without that one important ingredient – friendship. We shared a few blissful summer days with friends – and that made all the difference.
Here are some things I observed about friendship:
Thing # 1: Ice cream is better when licked by a friend. The best ice cream parlor in all the world was discovered. Overlooking the meadows where the very cows that provided the cream grazed the good grass, we licked their bounty. Then we offered each other a lick, flavors mingling. I discovered that salted caramel is delicious and now I can order something different from my usual chocolate chip. Friends lead us to discover parts of our self, previously unknown. Friends see us in ways we cannot see ourselves and through encouragement or challenge or acceptance, they draw us closer to what the Spirit wills for us.
Thing # 2: Deer pop out of nowhere when you travel with friends. Driving down a country lane, the canopy high above and dappled shade all around, a deer gently stepped out of the tall grass to greet us. She looked at us and we looked at her. Windows were wound down quietly and Nature whispered in. Calmly she stood, her home all around us. Tiny blue flowers, sweet foliage and soft ears, tipped to their highest, mesmerized us. Unexpected pleasures are a part of friendship. Stepping out of the shadows and allowing our self to be vulnerable in the light brings a beauty so gentle, so healing, so profound it can only stem from the Perfect Friendship of the father, son and holy ghost.
Thing # 3: The fire is warmer where friends gather. When the sun finally plopped into the lake at night leaving the air cool off the water, we gathered around the fire pit, toes barefoot and close. The warmth came not so much from the flames but from the voices and the laughter. We spoke of all things and of no things and the love of God danced in ebb and flow. Friends bring warmth into our life. It is a glimmer of the Trinity after which we are shaped.
True friendships are forged through patient paths and rough roads, through celebration and sorrow, through trial and heartbreak. Each smile, each tear, each misunderstanding and each full understanding is worth the strength deep in our core that others, once strangers but now friends, gift to us.
“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” – Proverbs 27:17