Monday, August 31, 2015

Seven Things I've Learned about Old Friends and Spiritual Journeys

I met Brad along with a number of other people on my first day at Meridian Middle School. Seeing him this past weekend for the first time in almost ten years reminded me of the gift God's given us in long-time friends. Thanks, Brad, and all you other old friends, for hanging around all these years.

1. Old friends know other versions of the stories we tell. I remember getting sent to the office for having a knife at school (true story); a friend might also remember that I'd been bragging about what a good woodcarver I was.

2. Old friends' spiritual journeys have different trajectories, but since we've known each other so many years, through so many other changes, it can feel safe to be honest about our lives in ways we might not be with people we see more frequently -- or even with family.

3. Old friends stay in touch with other old friends in different ways. Because this is true, we can love and understand not just the friend we see, but also the other friend. In middle school, I couldn't see beyond my own insecurity.

4. Old friends' spiritual journeys may break our hearts, but God is God (and I know He's been working in my life. I can trust He's working in their lives as well). And it's pretty likely my friend is concerned about my journey as well.

5. Old friends are just as old as I am. They have a lot of the same historical experiences I had. So we always have something to talk about, even if it's just marveling over the future we're living in compared to the future we expected to live in (where's my flying car, by the way, and why am I not living in a moon colony?).

6. Old friends' spiritual journeys can be encouraging. They've suffered and triumphed in ways I haven't. A couple missionary friends are able to use technology to continue a part of their ministry in Papua New Guinea while being based in the United States in order to be available to their aging parents. I continue to appreciate how God is using them here and there at the same time. (Some parts of this future world are pretty cool. Yay, internet!)

7. Old friends introduce us to new friends, and eventually, the new friends become old friends too.

-- Mindy