Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Best Friend

What is your definition of a friend?

According to social media, I have hundreds of friends. Some of them go back to my childhood. Some I have never met face to face.

We have good friends—and bad friends.

Some friends are loving and supportive when we need them. Some don’t even give us a second thought.

Recently, I spent some time in my old hometown renewing friendships. My school from grades 1-9 held its annual reunion, for anyone who ever attended the school. It was a joy to see fellow students (some I hadn’t seen in over 40 years) and former teachers, who had also been students at my school. There were several attendees from my former church, family friends and relatives. Hugs abounded.

Then I headed out to my former high school for a multi-year reunion. Some I recognized right away. But, others took a while to figure out. Hugs were freely offered. We sat around on uncomfortable stools in the cafeteria and remembered the good times. Laughter filled the room as it used to do in the days when we lined the tables for lunch. Only, this day we shared stories of grandchildren, lost spouses, and plans for retirement.

We gathered in groups for photo ops, hugging and smiling.

As an introvert, I was the quiet one during my school years. I had friends. However, they were mostly the fellow musicians, actors, and “studious” students. I didn’t fit in with the athletes and cheerleaders. The only times they even knew I existed was when I was on stage, pretending to be someone I was not.

Now when I come to the reunions, I find I am “popular” amongst the formerly elite. They all know my name, talk to me, and give me hugs as we greet.

Why the change? Is it because we have all matured? Well, most of us have matured.

Is it because of social media? Have they come to know me for who I really am by reading all my posts? Do they know that I care about them and am in constant prayer for them when they share their needs? Or have I suddenly become an equal in their eyes? It doesn't matter. I'm just thrilled that they are my friends.

All friends are important, whether they go back to childhood or if we just met them a month ago. But there is something special about those friends who have seen you grow over the years. They know the same people you know, they walked on the same streets you walked, they faced a lot of the same challenges you faced. And a lot of them know Roscoe, who I never met. Roscoe is the paddle our principal, Mr. Mac, introduced to most of my friends. Mr. Mac attended the reunion, too.

Mr. Mac (McFarland) surrounded by his family

View from Hionahill, Pine Mountain, KY

One childhood friend shared a cottage on top of the mountain with me for our reunions. This was our view.

We met in first grade and became best friends--even if he was a guy. My dad chased us off the phone so many nights I cannot count. We talked about anything and everything. We had a bond stronger than mere friends—we were best friends. Our friendship was better than brother and sister. We didn't fight.

After graduation, we lost touch. Years passed. Then, social media brought us back together.


As soon as we said hello, we started talking just like when we were young. The bond of friendship started back up right where it left off 40 years ago. We talked and talked and talked until we couldn’t talk anymore—not because there was nothing left to say.

Friendship like ours is rare. And special. If you are blessed with a friend like mine, then you are blessed indeed.

We think we married the same person! (insert laughter here) We have both grown tremendously through adversity. We have both overcome insurmountable obstacles. 

Best of all, we have both grown in our spiritual relationship with God.

Pouty friend Ike

I love all of my friends. They are like an assortment of sweet treats—some fruity, some nutty, some chocolate, some cream filled, some crunchy… All delicious! But, the one special friend who knows you better than you know yourself and still loves you, is a special gift from God.

Now, if you are not my friend Doug, don't despair. Don't pout like one of my friends--

Everyone belongs in the big bowl of friends.

What kind of friends live in your bowl of treats? What is the one ingredient that raises a friend from good friend to best friend?