At the moment, my friendship cup is very full. I mentioned in an earlier post that our family hosted some dear friends last month, and this past week we had the unexpected pleasure of sharing a meal with friends and their children as they passed through Waco. Then, this past weekend we hosted another dear friend. Yes, indeed, my cup is full!
While at times I have lamented the fact that our family has moved so much making it harder to maintain friendships, I am very grateful for a group of friends that literally spreads across the U.S. and even into Canada. Even though I regret that long stretches sometimes pass before we see each other, or talk, or email, I love that in many of these friendships we simply pick up where we left off, and treasure whatever time we have together.
I wish I could say that my warm feelings about friendship were always this upbeat. I have also had my share of friendship challenges. I can easily recall many a day in the fourth grade when I came home from school discouraged that no one wanted to by my friend. I think I spent a good portion of my later elementary school years pining for a “best friend.” Somehow I thought if I had a “best friend” all would be well. Thankfully, my junior high and high school years were “good” friendship years, and a couple of those friendships are still very dear to me. Stephene is one of my oldest friends and has known me since the seventh grade. We have shared high school and college memories along with meeting our future spouses around the same time, and also having children roughly at the same time—lots of memories!
In spite of many wonderful friendships, I am all too familiar with the feelings of jealousy and insecurity about my place in those friendships. I wish I could say I moved past these feelings after my adolescent years, but I have found them following me throughout my adult years as well. How many times have I fretted over my place in a certain friend’s life or spent time worrying about a friendship? I think it is natural to want to be the “special friend” in a person’s life, but too often I have found that kind of worrying to drain the life out of the friendship. Instead of enjoying being together, I find myself in this silly dance of wondering, “did she tell her other friends this piece of news or am I the only one she shared it with?” Ugh.
As I have watched Anna navigate some of her friendships this past year, and watched her experience some of those same insecure feelings I felt at her age, I have found myself repeating phrases my mom and others told me at the time. I have said words such as, “So and so’s heart is big enough to have you as a friend, and so and so as a friend at the same time. You can all be friends.” I have also told her, “Don’t work so hard to make a person like you. Just be yourself.” I wish I had felt more confident at her age to be myself, but I wasn’t. To be honest, I am not sure any of us are.
Throughout this past weekend with Tammy, I was reminded of the many rich memories our friendship already holds. Not too many people can claim that they willingly helped friends move across the country in a mini-van in the midst of a blizzard with young children, but Colby and Tammy can claim that. This past weekend Tammy and I added some new memories to the mix, and Lord willing, someday we will look back on this weekend and say, “remember when we….”