In the past two weeks I’ve been blessed with reuniting with some of my dearest friends from my college years. One stopped by with his wife on the way home from the Jersey Shore. I hadn’t seen him for at least two to three years. One came over from England with his son to tour the States, using my house as their home base. I hadn’t seen him for perhaps four or five years. One flew into Philly for a family reunion, and drove out to visit me and take me to lunch. I hadn’t seen him in maybe sixteen years. And one drove up from North Carolina to pick up her son from his summer gig in New Jersey. Her visit prompted an impromptu gathering of many of my college roommates and their significant others (and a few children), which we hadn’t done since last year.
What a gift.
It’s been a, “no matter what is going on, life is good,” time, because seeing old friends is such a blessing. A chance to remember and reminisce and laugh and sometimes cry. A chance for me to look back with new eyes – because at least two of these friends were there for me when I left the Church, and fundamental in supporting me as I started on my new life. One even gave me my out, my rationalization and way to leave. For that I will be eternally grateful.
Years ago my husband told me that, in his opinion, I held on to relationships for too long. I think we’d been talking about a friend with whom I’d had a falling out, and who was treating me poorly. He thought I should walk away sooner, and cut my losses when necessary.
While he may have been right in that instance, I love hanging on to the people I’ve known and loved over the years. As I’ve shared before, I think the heart has a huge capacity to love, and I think friends – from all walks of life and experiences – are a prime example of that. Each friend that stopped by I realized I adored. Each one I wondered why I hadn’t kept in better contact with them, and how I could see – or at least talk with, or at least interact online with – more often. Because it’s too easy to loose track of people who were once important to us, and too important to hold onto them instead.
I watched my college friends traipse through my home and my life, and I look at my daughter who is still in the beginning of her college days. I wonder if she’ll be as lucky and make as many dear friends as I’ve been blessed to make. I wonder if she’ll reunite with some of them when she’s nearly thirty years out of college. I wonder if she’ll be better at keeping in touch with her friends, and how it will be different and perhaps easier to do so then.
I wonder all these things, and then I simply stop and smile and rejoice that I’ve had the friends I’ve had and adored the friends I’ve adored. I rejoice that each and every one of them graced my home with their presence. I rejoice that I have a breather now from house guests…and wonder who will be next that I’ll get to see, and how I’ll make it happen sooner rather than later.
Life without friends, and particularly old friends, is sad. Life with friends, and particularly old friends, is a gift.
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