Back in my early and mid-20's, I was part of a close-knit group of five other girls. Beyond that, I had a large circle of friends and an even larger circle of acquaintances. Unlike my university friends, all these people belonged to my local community, and/or church. We saw each other weekly--or more. We were young, (mostly) single, and connected. We did small groups. We did bonfires. We called, facebooked, and texted. We worshiped, ate, sang, bowled, and partied together. At the time, I was confident that these would be the people I'd continue to grow alongside with throughout my 20's, 30's and beyond. It wouldn't matter that we'd get married, renovate houses, have babies and raise families.
But oh, how things change!
Fast-forward a few years... Aside from one individual, not a single person from the aforementioned group is currently a significant part of my life.
Oh, yes, I still talk to a few of them several times a year. A few I might see while at the grocery store or running errands around town. A few have school-age children who I've supply-taught. And then of course there's also a few who have de-friend-ed or blocked me on facebook.
Turns out, a lot of those friends and acquaintances really weren't such great friends after all.
Who was there for us after we were newly married and could have benefited from mentoring? How about when we wrestled with our church issues? Or when I quit going to church altogether? Who (besides Dan and Adam) from that community was there for us when we needed help with the house? Who chose to help walk me through some of my deepest shame and pain? No one from the group, that's for sure.
Tracy Lawrence says it best, when he sings:
Real friends don't stop being your friend just because they don't like who you decide to marry, what you choose to believe, or where you attend (or don't attend) church. Real friends don't stop being your friend because life gets too hectic or messy.
So, while I am sadly lacking in meaningful friendships, I am profoundly grateful for two local ladies in particular who have stuck it out with me. One has been my friend since fourth grade. We've had our ups and downs; there have been years where we were extremely close, and years where we've barely spoken. Through it all, we've always still considered each other as friends, and no matter what, we're able to keep coming back and picking up right where we left off. This year, we've resolved to meeting for dinner once a month or so. The other I didn't meet until later in my 20's but we have managed to stay part of each other's lives, regardless of where we find ourselves. Everyone needs "a person." I have two.