Friends have my number. They always have. Friends know I’m a morning person, that seeing a fawn brings me great delight, that I’ll make a 40-mile trip to buy ingredients to make zucchini bread to give away.
My friends do not go way back to childhood. We did not go to elementary school together. Mostly, they found me or I found them wandering around in adulthood.
Once found, though, we did not let go. I’m not saying we did not go forward and find new places and new people. Several of us did relocate. I am saying we did not let go. That means when I call them on the phone, it’s like old times. I’m beyond grateful for how that works.
There’s a confusion of sounds when my friends gather together. These people speak my language. I understand exactly what they’re saying, even if two are talking at the same time!
A friend and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about the power of friendship. That’s what set me to thinking about this invisible bond, this friendship thing.
Each of my friends is important to me. But the older I get, the more important they become. Friends listen and help me process things, and they share their experiences, too. They are authentic. Not perfect, you understand, but real. Exactly what I need.
The most magical thing I experience with my friends is that we laugh. We laugh at ourselves, forgive ourselves, look for a little time together, encourage each other when life is difficult. We are there for each other in so many ways.
When I was a girl, I grew up with sisters. Five sisters! Because of our ages, the sister two years younger and I were inseparable. This was the closest I came to understanding the joys of friendship in those formative years.
At fifteen, my family split up, and my brothers, my sisters, and I were placed in an orphanage. That’s when I discovered how to live with fifteen high school girls. That’s when I discovered friendship.
Nothing flashy or breezy about these girls in the teenage cottage, but some hit me as more authentic than others. Those were the ones I gravitated toward. It wasn’t long before I felt as comfortable with them as I was with cotton fabric. Two or three friends made breathing easier for me.
During my 20’s, I focused on getting a college degree and being married. I did not know much about housekeeping or cooking or teaching school, so that’s where my time had to go. Still, I had a couple of friends I’d turn to when I felt low or confused.
As I recall, my 30’s were the years when I realized how important my friends were to me. These were the same years when I was parenting young children. When my baby was sick, I did not hesitate to turn to a friend for suggestions. One told me all she knew, then said, “Maybe it’s time to call the doctor.” Good advice.
Because I did not live within a hundred miles of anyone in my family-of-origin, I leaned heavily on friends. They were the ones I could count on. Emotionally, what did those women offer me? Authenticity. Honesty. Listening ears. Love. Courage. Knowledge. Reminders of God’s way.
My friends varied in ages. None of them exhausted me. In fact, the opposite happened! Time with them gave me energy. We could laugh, tease in a good way, work and play together, cry, question without judgement.
Basically, what I know is that I need friends in my life. I am grateful every time I find another one. I do not face this world alone, because I have my Friend Jesus, my husband, and other friends who are and have always been there for me, cheering me along.
Friends help my happiness level. They not only listen to my troubles, they pray for me, and I for them! It’s how I get through this world.
If you wish for a good friend, my advice is this: Pray about it. Then stay open to God and let Him lead you to the right person. Be patient and wait. Trust Jesus to open the right door.
Warning: If you know the Lord and ask for His help, if you decide to move a mountain in hopes of making a new friend, look out!
God bless you,
These three ladies have been blessed to know each other since childhood. They are friends: (left to right) Kristi Majors, Stacey Ferretti, Whitney Byrd. Here, they are enjoying being cooks at Lone Rock Baptist Church Vacation Bible School. Photographer: Bailey Byrd.
Poetry by Pat Durmon
Prose by Pat Durmon
The story of Lee R. Farrier from Norfork, Arkansas, is Pat's first book of prose and a tribute to Lee, the town of Norfork, and its people. All profits from sales go toward a scholarship at Norfork High School.