How are you making time for friendship in your life? Too many of us put off time with friends as the busyness of life enfolds us.
Paul Simon, in one of his early songs, described old friends as “bookends.” The image didn’t mean much to me until this past weekend when I drove to Taos, New Mexico, to reunite with two friends from childhood. Bill and I grew up in the same neighborhood and share memories that stretch back to Kindergarten. Stephanie showed up in the middle of our fifth grade year and Bill and I quickly swept her into our little circle. Our friendship remained steadfast well into our twenties when years and careers started to pull each of us in different directions. We stayed in touch sporadically until this past spring. The heart attack that nearly took Bill’s life jolted us into recognition of the time not to waste. We each cleared our calendars in order to reunite for a weekend of sustained conversation and lengthy meals. These two friends have truly bracketed my life with their love and laughter.
“…I have called you friends…”, Jesus tells his disciples in John’s account of the Last Supper (John 15:15). In differentiating between “slaves” and friends, Jesus went on to say how he has revealed something of deep value to them. Such a message implies intimacy and intention, two striking characteristics of friendship.
Unlike family, we choose our friends and, when blessed with faithful ones, find an everlasting treasure. Sharing what is most important with them is a mark of “bookend” friends – those who buffet our lives with love, acceptance, and understanding. Sadly, too many of us put off time with friends as the busyness of life enfolds us. Responsibilities at home, work, school, or parish can draw us away from life-giving moments with people who lift our hearts and hold us to the truth. How grateful I am for an opportunity like this past weekend to rediscover the sheer delight of being in the presence of Stephanie and Bill, my two best bookend friends.
Lead your students in a discussion about ways to be a good friend to others. As a new school year begins, foster an atmosphere of respect and kindness, the hallmarks of friendship, in your classroom.
How are you making time for friendship in your life? Make a point of contacting a friend this week.