“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh,” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.””
This sweet little excerpt from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne is a reflection of our heart’s desire – to be sure of our friends and to hold them close. The painful thing about friendships is that sometimes life gets in the way of that sureness and closeness. As an adult, I find that my most intimate friends are spread the farthest distance from my home. These unique individuals have a kindred spirit and pour life-giving words and joy into my heart. Some friends spring up like bright spontaneous Morning Glories, winding their way around our heart and bringing cheerfulness for the season. Others bloom dependably like the Peony I lovingly planted a couple years ago, and I water and enjoy it each year when it comes back and graces me with its beauty. Yet as a 28-year-old now married woman with a 2-month-old daughter, I find myself with that childhood longing for a “bosom friend”, as Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables aptly called it. As a kid, I imagined the perfect friend as someone who shared everything with me – her secrets, her heart, her life, half of her bologna sandwiches. Like Piglet, I wanted a friend that was there, always beside me and I was sure of her. My first best friend was Rachel, and I loved her hard and fast, the way most kindergarteners do, but my family moved to Pennsylvania and I started at a new school. My second real best friend was in junior high, and we were inseparable. When my parents moved our family just before my sophomore year, it was like my heart was being ripped from my chest. Oh those high-as-a-kite and sharp-as-a-knife emotions we experienced as teenagers. I cried for months. By the time I tossed my red cap with gold tassel in the air, I had a new best friend, but this time college took me from her to Indiana. Goodbye, Best Friend #3; Hello college roommate! My randomly assigned dorm roommate became my rock, the giver of the other half. Seriously though, Number 4 shared EVERYTHING! I still think that Kentucky must breed the nicest people. But once again, I transferred schools. Let’s fast-forward: enter Boyfriend #2, best friend replacement for most of college, he moves to another state, we fail miserably at long distance, enter Best Friend #4 (an old friend from before), Graduate, move to Louisiana, move to Colorado – Hello group of amazing friends of assorted ages! Goodbye mountains, Hello Nashville, TN and another magical roommate (I’ve had incredible “luck” with roommates to this day! Yep, that would be a nod to my current roommate, my husband.) Living with someone is a great catalyst to friendship, but life gets in the way: work, boyfriends, grad school, moving away, marriage, work, baby…Hello 2012, with me sitting at my desk typing this best-friendship timeline. I know the pattern there, but I also know that I have loved and learned from the semi-nomadic lifestyle I have led. I cherish all of the amazing friends, casual and intimate, that I have gotten to know along the way. Its just that – sometimes you wish you could just keep one, even just one, forever. I am envious of my friends who live in the same town as their best friend (husbands discounted). There are other cards stacked against me too: the fact that I am introverted by nature, independent, and accustomed to being alone, not needing anyone else. I realize that developing deep relationships requires vulnerability, availability and time. I will need to commit to keeping my heart open and let go of the fear that people leave or that I might. So, I will dig in. And I will wait and pray. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking God’s not interested in our desires – but of course He is! His heart is made glad when we experience fulfilling relationships, jobs, even hobbies that bring us joy. If something is big enough to be on our heart, then God wants to be in it and through it. Besides, love and friendship are the best of who God is. He wants us to discover it not only in Him, but in each other.
If you are reading this post, I would love to hear your perspective or maybe a story of the friendships in your life. Feel free to drop me a note or an email. And we can celebrate and commiserate together.