There have been seasons of my life when I have felt alone and without friends; but as I look at my landscape of friends, I am blessed to see that I DO have old friends as well as new. I also have always had and deeply enjoyed friends who are older than I even as I have enjoyed the energy and new things younger friends brought to my life. Together they form a veritable garden of different fragrances and hues.
How does your garden grow?
A wise woman will cultivate the landscape of her life and plant a variety of both new and old.
So it was with gratefulness and joy, I smiled as I considered the beauty and variety in the precious women who enriched my life and I connected with in the short span of ten days and yet so many others came to mind. I was trying to catch up with many as I prepare to spend time helping my daughter when my granddaughter has surgery.
There was the widowed, retired schoolteacher who lives in assisted living. She will celebrate 91 years of life soon. Despite her recent hip replacement, she served me “friendship tea” as she always has since I first sat in her kitchen visiting her as a young mother. Her gentle spirit, sweet smile, and wisdom have added to my life for more than forty years.
There was also my widowed cousin who is more of a friend who also turns 91 soon. She lives independently, drives, and still enjoys gardening. It was inspiring to hear about her active life. She volunteers at the local library once a week after retiring years ago as a school librarian. She plays the piano for the local senior citizens choir and was also preparing two piano duets to play at her church in the summer months. Add visiting those who are “old”, catching up with grandchildren and great-grandchildren and scrapbooking and I could not stop grinning.
An 81-year-old friend of no more than twenty years was recovering from heart surgery and we took several hours to enjoy each other’s company on her front porch. Her love language has always been acts of service. She was the one to show up on my doorstep with a roast beef dinner after a car had struck me in an accident. She was the one who gifted me by wrapping my Christmas gifts as we chatted year after year.
The days also included a friend, 43, who is my personal trainer that I have known well for not quite ten years. Her encouragement and care for me, her belief in me, her passion for life, and all things healthy are a great blessing. Her children and my grandchildren are about the same ages and there is always something to catch up on as she puts me through my paces.
Another 43 year old, spent time over coffee with me at a favorite place while she reminded me of a computer skill I needed to review. We have known each other 12 years now. Her courage and strength have been a great testimony of the Lord’s grace and mercy. (She also designed my website.)
Are you getting the idea?
During that same time period, I had lunch with a precious friend I have known for nearly twenty years who is 61. It is with her that I enter into talks about our calling, our passion, the latest books we have read. How and when we met was wholly a God thing! My love and passion for her goes deep even as the Lord has knitted us together.
Another newer friend just a few years older than I shared about the ways the Lord seems to be using us at this season and then there was another friend my husband and I were able to celebrate as she turned 77. We have been friends for more than 40 years.
One more, a young 47 year old, met me at “our” favorite coffee shop where we caught up with our lives, what the Lord has been doing, how her counseling practice is growing, and how we can pray for each other.
These near to me remind me of how much I miss times with a very close friend whom I met in graduate school who moved after retirement and I see far less often than I like with 300 miles between us. And there is also the friend and spiritual sister who died ten years ago from cancer.
Thank you, Lord, for each one!
“Friendship is, of course, another word for love, love of varying intensity. The need for friendship, for love, and its maintenance is never ending.” Ashley Montagu
The poet is so wise!
Yes, make new friends, but keep the old.