Friends for a Season

I was recently at a girl’s night to celebrate the impending marriage of a friend of mine. The bride and have known each other since the 7th grade and although we have not stayed close all these years, I am grateful to still have her in my life. (one of the perks of online communication is the ability to re-discover old friends and keep in touch regardless of the distance or busyness of life)

The evening was full of fun and silliness that Mom’s can only get away with when their children are safely tucked in at home with a babysitter. And it was really interesting to me to see the diverse friends that we are at this party, and all with the same desire to wish my friend all the best in her new life and help her enjoy every last minute of her single life before joining us (her married friends) on this side of life as a married woman.

Some of the girls at this get-together have known her much much longer than I have and some are newer friends. Her maid of honour has know her since birth, others since kindergarden, I knew her better in high school, some she has come to know through her fiance or her brother, some were related and others are work mates. My point is that the group was like a cross-section of the friendships built over time in the life of one woman.

It has caused me to think this week about all the friendships that have come and gone in my life. I have no friends from birth, other than family members, likely due to having moved homes and schools so much throughout my childhood. I have renewed a few friendships that I once held dear to my heart in my highschool years, I have so many new and wonderful friends that I am eternally grateful that God has brought into my life. But there are some empty spots, and having spent time with this group of friends last week reminded me that sometimes, people grow apart. Sometimes life gets in the way, jobs and new responsibilites widen the distance between us making it ever difficult to maintain close friendships.

But what is it that causes some friendships to stand the test of time, proximity and status in life? Why do some people come into our lives and become embedded into every corner of our hearts, and others will leave a deep impression but will not remain? Were the friendships that didn’t last less meaningful? If we were really so close, how could we not keep the connection?

I have come to the decision that the popular internet anecdote is actually true. Some friends will stay for a lifetime, the friendship will grow and thrive no matter what life throws at us. And some friends will be there for only a season, it is a great friendship that meets both our needs for the time being and will have forever changed who we are at some level. But it is best not to try to force the friendship to continue to mean the same thing to both parties.

I have a friend struggling with letting go of her “friend for a season”, she knows that they are not in a place where they can ever be the kind of friends that they used to be. The temptation to push the relationship into the familiar box is very real, but the fact is, that the best way to pay tribute to a good friendship is to let it go when the time comes. It is best in order to avoid hurt feelings, unfulfilled expectations and the loss of all the wonderful memories.

So I think back over my friends, both old and new, and I treasure the memories we’ve had and feel joy at the blessing they were in my life as long as they were there. Some friends I will touch base with only for the major life events, weddings, births, funerals etc and I can be happy for them in their happiness and allow the strength of a remembered closeness to be enough. While some friends, like the one getting married, I will re-connect with and become closer than ever before (kind of like finding a whole new friend) after we have grown and matured in our individual lives. And some friends I look back fondly on, and know that we had a great time together, know that I am probably a better person for having known them and wish them well in all their relationships.

And I will most definitely being holding my newer friends close, cultivating the relationships in order to maintain them as Lifetime Friends!

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