There's that saying that you can't pick your family but you can pick your friends; friends are the family you wish you had. I can't say this is true for me as I'm pretty lucky in my family BUT I will say that I've been really, really blessed in the friendships I've had throughout my life. And, as another saying goes, (paraphrasing here), people come into your life for a reason, a season, or forever. So goes my friendships.
My forever friends. Oh, my; whatever would I do without them? There's only a small handful of them and each person is as different as could possibly be from the others. Perhaps this reflects how they speak and relate to different aspects of my personality or life style. Perhaps this is also why these friendships, although always there, have waxed and waned over the years depending on what happens to be going on in each of our lives. In any case, I do know this. We may disagree on things; maybe even some fairly important things. We may have differing views on politics and religion, opposing opinions on societal issues and extremely varied personal interests; however what we do have in common is the bond of memory; all of the times we've shared over the years (good and bad); these tie us firmly together; and, I'm betting, it would take something unfathomable to ever sever these ties. Regardless of what happens to be going on in each of our lives, if I were to sound the bell; to raise the alarm; to scream "HELP ME!" they would come in a heartbeat. As I would for them. The reason for this is quite simply that we have been around each other long enough to know that we are good people. We've seen each other in trying times, in happy times; sometimes in situations that seemed impossible to ever weather. I found this quote on friendship that aptly sums up how I feel about my forever friends: "No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth". (Robert Southey).
My seasonal friends are ones who figured very prominently in my life for a period of time but who, for whatever reason, I no longer keep in touch with or, if I do, it's just on occasion (or on Facebook). Like most people, this category is where the majority of my friendships fall. Whether a long season (e.g., several years) or shorter, these friends are ones with whom I shared an intense and immediate connection usually relating to a specific place I lived, a school I went to, a place I visited or job I held; sometimes perhaps a relationship I (or someone I am close to) was in. When I think back on these friendships, I recognize that each one helped me to grow in a particular aspect of my life; to develop in a much needed area. Although I don't see much of them (if at all), I'm fairly certain that, if circumstances were such that we were to reconnect, there would be another great season of friendship; maybe like a warm Indian Summer.
My reason friends; ah; most of them I have no idea where they are now and likely I'll never see them again. Truly, these were not friendships meant to last over the long haul but there was a purpose to them; in fact, a very specific purpose. The nature of these friendships; the reasons for them, are far too personal for me to scribe here, as I would imagine they would be for everyone. Some might say these people were Angels sent to guide; others might quote, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears".
As I close on this topic, I think of another category of friends, and that is new friends. Over the past year or so, I've made several new friends; some are neighbors, some are from church and others I've met recently in my travels. When I look back years from now, where will these new friends be?
Only time will tell but whatever happens, I'll be thankful for having known them.