Hold Them Close

I had the wonderful opportunity over this past week to really enjoy one of life's biggest blessings... long-lasting friendships, and just how important it is to hold on to those few relationships that stand the test of time.  

My husband has a remarkable group of friends that, despite being spread out across much of the southeast, have stayed in touch and stayed close since college (a couple since highschool even).  As spouses have married in, we have been fully welcomed into this ever growing group as if we were there in the beginning nearly 20 years ago now.  As life has continued on, couples have become families, and this group still stays intact.  In today’s world where there is so much competition and comparison, it’s easy for friendships to suffer.  As time and distance comes between lives, it’s hard to take the time to make a phone call or send an email to stay in touch with those that were once incredibly important to you.  What makes this group so special is their ability to focus on the good in everyone, to build each other up and support each other, and to be accepting of the differences that we all have and appreciate them rather than become critical of each other. 

This week, we just braved something many would think would have been complete chaos (and at times it was).  We all got together for a trip to Disney and stay at the Nickelodeon Hotel which came complete with an amazing couple of on property water parks and pools. At one point, I believe the final count came to 14 children under the age of seven, plus all of us “grown ups.”  Trying to find a table big enough for everyone to attempt to eat and keep track of all the munchkins at the pools, water slides, arcades, etc was just a joke.  But as the chaos around us continued, we had the best time relaxing in the midst of friendship.  The kids got along tremendously well, especially considering how tired they all were from no naps and full days of playing in the sun.  We saw the old friendships continue and the next generation of friendships begin.  I was reminded of this verse in Ecclesiastes.

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
— Ecclesiastes 8:15

Life is hard sometimes and who knows what tomorrow will bring.  But it is such a blessing to look at those long lasting, God-given friendships around you and just enjoy life to the fullest.  The work, bills, stress... it will all be there when you get back.  But to just be able to hold on to time spent together and enjoy the here and now is a huge blessing.  So those friends that bless your life, and you theirs... hold them close, treasure them deeply, and give them a call once in a while!  They are a gift.