Among all my treasures I have been truly blessed enough to gather along life’s pathways, the most treasured of all are the friendships that I have made. I am so very blessed to have made some amazing friends and count their presence in my life as one of my most valuable possessions.
But to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure “possessions” is the right word. Friendship isn’t something we own, as the word possession implies. The Gift of Friendship is something we are given to be caretakers of, to nurture and enrich. But we don’t own it. We cannot keep it in a box like a gold necklace or on a shelf like a fragile vase, only to be taken down and admired on special occasions. Our friendships deserve so much more.
This time of year, I cannot help but reflect on my special friendships and miss the special times and traditions I hold most dear. I go back to the literally hundreds of pounds of cookies and candy I have made with my childhood best friend over the holidays and the endless memories that we share. A Christmas in her kitchen, elbow-deep in flour and laughing about everything – and anything – under the sun, is sheer perfection! Despite the years, marriage, children (and now grandchildren!) and the many miles that separate us, that friendship is more precious than gold and remains my rock. What I wouldn’t give for a #10 jar of stemmed cherries, a mountain of nougat and a whole lot of dipping ahead! Those were the days, my friend! Those were definitely the days!
Good friendships come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We all have ones that have come through our youth, our work, our children…even the most unexpected of places. The Gift of Friendship is sometimes a gift we don’t even realize someone has given until we need it most. Cherish your friendships. Take time to celebrate them, cultivate them, enrich them and let your friends know the important role they play in your life.
With social media, cell phones and all the technology at our fingertips, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with old friends near and far. But I have to admit that nothing excites me more than to see the gorgeous script of my besties handwriting on an envelope in a stack of mail at the end of the day awaiting me on the dining room table. She is so much better at writing and remembering special dates than I am. The lift my day gets from her remembering and sharing a few lines about her world are priceless!
Since my daughter was an infant, a favorite book I have read her (and now keep for my future grand kids) is a board book written by an author named P. K. Hallinan. A simple book on friendship, Let’s Be Friends, I read it so many times in those early years, the words are emblazoned in my memory:
It’s fun to make friends, and it’s easy to do!
When you’re friendly toward others…
They’re friendly to you!
So offer a smile to someone you know
Or greet someone special with a cheerful “hello!”
Everyone’s happy to hear someone say,
“It’s certainly nice to see you today!”
With friends we find comfort…
And joyful surprises!
Friends come in all colors…
And in all shapes and sizes.
Being a friend means choosing to do
The very nice things you’d like done for you.
So listen with interest to what someone is saying.
And join in the games that the others are playing.
And once in a while, try lending a hand
To help someone learn when they don’t understand.
The easiest way for a friendship to start
Is to give of your time…and to give of your heart.
So if you feel lonely, just look all around
At all the new friends who are waiting to be found.
Having good friends will always depend
On first be willing to just be a friend.
Yes, The Gift of Friendship is a powerful, magical gift. I hope you have been gifted this treasure often and that you have not been afraid to give it to others. Rekindle old friendships, celebrate the ones you have and don’t be afraid to reach out and make new ones! Warm and lasting friendships are precious, wonderful riches to wrap ourselves in allow the experiences of life to be felt more fully. They make the sorrows easier to bear and the joys so much more sweeter.
I thank God for my friends: old, new and the ones I’ve yet to make!