Since I moved in December from California to Texas I have been thinking on and off about this matter of friends. Having lived in the same city and house for 32 years, when I left California I left the place of many friends I had there. I knew I would miss seeing those friends, and was concerned about the path of meeting and making new friends in my new location.
From the outset of arriving in Amarillo I was impressed by the friendliness of almost everyone. Obviously friendliness does not automatically translate to friends, but it was encouraging to me as a newcomer. I was somewhat surprised last week when I realized in multiple conversations I referred to someone I was talking with as “my friend.”
The designation “friend” has a wide range of meanings. Not every acquaintance is necessarily a friend, even though we appreciate them. Most of us have “friends” on Facebook we hardly know, but in that context they are friends. I’m intrigued by the designations “good friend,” “close friend,” and “best friend.”
The depth or level of our friendships generally vary based upon the time we spend with them. Even though I still consider them good friends, because of my move I am not as close to my friends in California as I was when I lived there. And because they were and are good friends, I miss them.
I have made and am making friends in my new city. It takes and will take time, but I am positive and making progress. You do not quickly become “good friends” with someone, but friendship grows as you spend time together.
Hopefully it will not surprise anyone to read that my best friend is my wife, Jan. And our friendship has grown through our move and our settling into our new city and home. Our move has also allowed my friendship with our daughter to intensify as I see her daily, but I miss seeing our son every day. As good as it is, talking on the phone or on Facetime is not the same as being present.
As I think about this matter of friends I am reminded of how valuable and important they are—at all levels. One of the best things about Facebook is that it allows us to connect with and stay in touch with friends all the way back to childhood and all over the world. I so appreciate interacting with friends from high school, college, my youth ministries, my time in Philadelphia, and my years in California. I am thankful for all the friends I have had and still have as well as the new friends I am making in Texas.
Here are three verses from the book of Proverbs for your contemplation:
Proverbs 17:17a, “A friend loves at all times.”
Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 27:6, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
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