When was the last time you chatted with an old friend? Today is a great day to give someone special to you a long overdue call!
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11 -NIV
They were poised in the doorway waiting as we trotted up the front path, our suitcases in hand. Bounding up the steps, we fell into tight hugs. Squeals of sheer delight bounced around the foyer as we took one another in. Joy laden tears ran down my dear friend’s cheeks as she exclaimed, “People! Our people!”
It had been more than two years since we had seen these special friends, our usual visit prevented by Covid precautions. Finally, the time had come. Vaccinations complete, we had made the six hour trek for the much anticipated weekend visit.
My heart simply overflowed with joy as I gazed at the smiling faces before me. We have been friends for 42 years, our longest ongoing relationship. We met when we were just 18 years old, college kids spending long summer days running around our hometown or catching rays together poolside. The tight bonds of friendship formed in the summer sun have only grown stronger with the passage of time. We have weathered the seasons of life together, mostly with laughter, but sometimes with tears. We have shared hopes, Dreams, successes and disappointments. We love each other’s families and lift one another up in prayer.
Over the years, we have stayed connected through occasional phone calls and yearly or bi-yearly weekend visits. Things changed with Covid. Of course, our visits had to be put on hold, but there was a surprising positive in this weird and difficult year. Instead of talking by phone a couple of times per year, we picked up the pace and started calling every 2 to 3 weeks. After all, we knew that we were both stuck at home on weekend evenings, so we started calling on Saturday or Sunday nights. Like our in person conversations, the calls were boisterous and lengthy. What a lift those chats gave each of us at a time when we so needed it!
Connections…formed through friendship, fostered by love. Oh, how we all need connections! If there are any life lessons we are to learn from Covid, one would be our need for connection with other people.
Human beings are wired for connection. That truth goes all the way back to the Book of Genesis. God not only made Adam, but then went on to make Eve so that Adam would not be alone. The Israelites were instructed to live together in community and to worship in unison.
The early Christian church is perhaps One of the best examples of the benefits of connection. After the resurrection of Christ, the early believers began meeting together in homes and pooling their resources. They were devoted to one another.
Jesus was a great fan of connection. Jesus didn’t choose one disciple, but a group of twelve so they could learn together and support one another. He valued friendships too. We can see this in his special relationship with Martha, Mary and Lazarus. He gathered often with them for food and fellowship.
Connections are crucial. Even health research purports the benefits of connection on health. Recovery from illness or surgery is much improved in those with strong support systems. Addiction recovery programs teach that the opposite of addiction is connection.
Sitting at the table with our old friends feasting on fine food and fabulous conversation, I was struck anewh at the value of strong, healthy relationships. Friendships such as ours are not simply born. They are cultivated. They are built on a foundation of trust and nurtured by loving care and attention. Taking the time to stay in touch is so important, and yet so easy to overlook in the midst of our busy lives. Keeping in touch takes effort , but the dividends of this expenditure are compounded over time.
Friends, let’s take a lesson from Covid. Let’s strengthen old connections and forge new ones. Make that phone call. Send that text. Write that letter. Reach out to those you have not spoken to for awhile. Strike up a conversation with someone new. Be a part of building up the fellowship of the church.
Yes, old friends are a treasure to be cherished. New friendships are worth the effort. We need each other, perhaps now more than ever. Let’s take the time to cultivate our connections.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Hebrews 10:24 – NIV
O Dear Lord, thank You for the beloved people You have put in our paths. Thank You for the gift of friendship, for the treasured old friends and the new ones yet to be made.. Help us to build one another up in love. May we remain strong and steady, supporting each other through the storms of life. Thank You Jesus, for being the faithful friend who will never leave us nor forsake us.
In the Loving Name of Jesus, we pray,