The other night we sat in a living room full of old friends, the walls of our home nearly bursting with the laughter that this group of friends inevitably brings. When the lot of us are together, at some point, J always remarks about how he loves how much we all laugh when we are together. I love that.
Then our conversation flows into a bit more of the thoughtful type: how's work? church? what are you guys thinking with _______? how are y'all doing with ______? We talk about it all, listening to one another's hearts be poured out, and coming alongside one another to process, to throw our hands in the air in excitement, or to shed tears. And I love that, too.
J and I look at our life and we realize this very special piece we possess: we have a treasure trove full of real friends. Some, like this group, are all spread out across the states and we all get to see each other once every year or two. Some share our city with us, for one more year or for the foreseeable future, and our weeks are speckled with time shared with them. I have gained some through this social media realm, eagerly awaiting the day I can sit down for face-to-face time with each one, but their friendships continue to become every bit as true to me.
These friendships are pieces of grace, our "iron that sharpens iron," tangible reminders of the Lord's kindness. He gave us each one of these, orchestrating each one of our lives so that they would intersect with each other, in the best, most timely way. His hand is all over each one of these bonds we share, some coming so "out of the blue" into our lives, yet at just the right time, that all we can do is be overwhelmed at how perfectly wise and abundantly generous He is.
This trove is ever-growing and shifting. We gain new hearts to the mix, like two friends we've gained this past year who have been an answer to prayers we've prayed for years. We send friends off, so excited for what's ahead for them, and wiping tears away at the same time because we'd love to keep them as our next-door neighbors forever. We learn to master facetime and instagram, to use email and the post office, to invest however we are able in these hearts that the Lord has knit so closely to ours.
For so many reasons the past months the Lord has struck me with the thought, again and again, that it is such a kindness of Him that we have one another. He gave us that gift. And as more months go by, I don't want the significance of that truth to do anything else but become more real to me.
""You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing.""