In this day of expanding use of social media it seems everyone is seeking as many friends, fans, and followers as can possibly be acquired. Besides our long list of online relationships, we make friends at church, school, work, the community center, at the diner – anywhere we spend time on more than an occasional basis.
For the most part the persons that we think of as friends are not really that at all, but instead are acquaintances with whom we have, at least for a season of time, a connection that has opened the door to getting to know each other better. Only a few of those acquaintances will transition into true friends - I believe that transition takes place not due to time spent with someone, but because of self shared with someone.
But first must come trust. Without trust, there can be no transition from acquaintance to true friendship. And if and when trust is ever lost, there comes a severing of friendship that can be as painful as any other type of loss one experiences in life.
I count only a handful of people in my inner circle of deep and committed friends. We arrived at those relationships at various stages of my life – yet all of these friends are equally as dear to me as any “family” person could be. I seldom see some of these friends due to the miles between us, and our phone calls are not necessarily frequent nor long. That doesn’t seem to diminish the quality or the depth of our friendships. Once we begin to talk we simply begin where we left off. There is a comfort level. There is acceptance. There is trust.
When I enter or leave my home it is usually through the door leading to the garage. Near that door hangs this plaque:
The Miracle of Friendship
There is a miracle called friendship
that dwells within the heart and you don’t
know how it happens or when it gets its start…
But the happiness it brings you
always gives a special lift,
and you realize that friendship
is God’s most precious gift!
That transitioning stage from acquaintance to friend is kind of sneaky. Something might be spoken, or an experience may be shared, when suddenly boom! – there it is. You might not see it coming, but you know when it has arrived. Handle with care – the gift of friendship always has an element of fragility that must be respected and understood. And above all, tend your personal garden of friendship well, as the rewards are ones that can last a lifetime.
Tags: friendship; mental health; opinion and editorial; seniors
personal experience and opinion