The recent tragedy in Paris and stories of those who lost their friends make me pause to savor life and the priceless gift of friendship. I hold my treasures close. I know you do, too.
Last weekend I visited Oregon where I had spent a few childhood years. It was a long-awaited weekend back to where first thoughts were formed about life and love and God and friendship.
I last said goodbye to my high-school friend, Heather, when I wore white and began a new chapter of my life. Now, 14 years later, we hug near Portland in a Best Western parking lot, share sushi, joy, and heartache, an afternoon down Memory Lane, and dinner with our loves. True friendship is priceless- worth more than all the money in the world.
And then I traveled further back in time. Back to Albany, to my kindergarten class where 39 years ago I walked in, nervous, set my folded blankie carefully in my new cubby to wait for afternoon naptime. My parents found another little girl and brought her to me, “You two can be friends.”
She had straight, black hair, curled under, and the most twinkly dark brown eyes I had ever seen. “I’m Molly,” she smiled. Our eyes locked. We were friends for life. But then I moved away after first grade. We wrote a few letters, but never saw each other again.
In 2009, I hunted through Facebook for her brown twinkly eyes, and found them. I sent her a message, “Could it be you?” And it was.
Last weekend, I stood at her front door. It felt almost like slow motion. I knocked. And then, suddenly, she was there. We snapped our fingers and the clock hands flew from age 6 to 44 with the opening of a door.
Those same twinkly eyes look back at mine, mine with middle-aged lines around the edges now. We cry, hug, pull back to look at each other, hug, cry, and cry some more.
Time has dealt us both tough blows. We share heartache, look at old pictures, giggle that we are finally together again, grieve the years of separation, celebrate our friendship, pray.
I don’t want to leave. But I fly away, back to my life with little boys who now live their days of new classrooms and just-born friendships.
Years from now they will visit familiar halls and perhaps hug the heart of a long-past but never-forgotten treasure of a friend.
For our friends truly are our treasures. And we will go to the ends of the earth to let them know how loved they are, for in their times and seasons, they have shown us a love that is priceless.
P.S. Let a friend know she’s loved this Christmas with a LOVED t-shirt from my collection. Each tee comes with a special tag that says she’s been stamped LOVED by God, permanently. Click here to see all the color/style options.