Where would you and I be today without the people we call "friends?"
Who else do we have to call when we have the most horrible day imaginable?
How else would we have gotten through those "ugly cry" years?
Who else would we turn to when the best, beyond the best thing happens to us?
Especially as our society has become more and more mobile all the time and we don't all live in the same town as a our biological families forever, friends have become essential to our being.
In fact, recently the Huffington Post said that if you want to live to 100, the quality of your relationships has a lot to do with this.
When I first was introduced to Kevin in Washington DC over 9 years ago, meeting his friends and attending their yearly "Bring Back the Love" getaways to the beach became a rhythm of our life together. Though he never explicitly said it, if his friends didn't like me, then I was probably not going to a last.
And the same was true for me.
Friends are not only important to life within a marriage but all stages of life, married or single alike. I've come to believe that we all need friends both the long-distance kind and the up close and personal kind.
Those friends that we share life-long history with AND those whom we can call at a moments notice to go on a walk or to shop for something we just need a second opinion about!
Yet most of us struggle in at least one of these catagories. Especially in the post college or graduate years, it takes work. It takes time. It takes trust. It takes vulnerability. It takes moving to a new city and it sucking for awhile.
But, no matter if the friend of yours lives next door or two plane rides away, there's a word that describes what keeps good friendships going. And this is commitment. Lewis B. Smedes says this in his work, Caring and Committment:
Not even mutual admiration is, by itself, enough to keep a friendship alive that long. For one thing we discover somewhere along the line that even people we admire have feet of clay. The best of us is flawed. Our flaws show through eventually; we disappoint our friends, and sometimes their disappointments hurts enough to wound our friendship. . . .
Besides, even friends who admire each other a lot drift a part when one moves to another part of the country. If I move away and don't see my friend for 5 years, and do not stay in close touch, our friendship is likely to die of malnutrition, with dignity maybe, and peacefully, but with the same result of dying. I may still admire him [or her], but I would admire him [or her] as a person who used to be my friend.
If friendships like these happen to last a lifetime, it is probably because they are more than friendships of affection, or usefulness or admiration. Most likely, they are held together because the friends are committed to each other.
So, who you want to do life together with? Who do you need to stick close to, no matter what? And, when is the last time you called them? Or texted them to just say hello? When is the last time you made a trek across the country (or a continent) just because you wanted to see their face?
We all get busy. And we all neglect relationships from time to time. To love someone is not to be there for every moment that your friend wants you to be at, but . . .
Our life schedules reflect what is important to us the most.
So, what does your monthly calendar say about your friendships?