The Deep Roots of Friendship
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13
I had this great group of friends. We met as young elementary kids (some of us in the nursery; we just didn't know it) through church; at Sunday School, Training Union, Vacation Bible Schools, and all other church activities. We were together a lot over the years so it was just normal for us to grow this unbreakable bond as we entered high school.
We were a motley crew of different personalities and characters, interest and hobbies. But the one thing that brought us together was our loyal parents that had us involved in every event church had to offer. Through each of our desires to have a close knit group to rely on and have our backs no matter what, we became extremely close.
What is strange to me now that I sit and think back is if I were to have been in school with most of them we probably wouldn't have been such good friends. I now know the Lord was our common denominator in pulling us together, knowing that at different times in our life we would need each other and need a christian perspective on what life dishes out.
Even though we were "church friends" we were not opposed to stretching the limits of right and wrong (we were still kids out to have a good time) which brings me to this one evening we all got together to provide a special send off to one of our own. You see, his dad had accepted a position with his company in another state and would be moving the family with him (can you believe the gall of him). So we set out to find a way to let our friend know just how much we would miss him and how much we loved him.
It was a warm summer evening just before the setting of the sun, two small cars, packed to the brim with giggling teenagers, pulled up to the high school band parking lot just outside the football stadium. We were armed with flashlights (incase it got dark before we were finished) and lots of colorful chalk (yes, we 'sidewalk-chalked' before it was a thing). We had a plan and we executed it well. We made fast time of constructing a beautiful, life sized piece of art right there on the parking lot of where our friend would park his car for his last band practice the following day.
Now I wasn't one for breaking rules so I was the Nervous Nellie of the bunch as we made our way onto the school campus. Some of our personalities were bent on breaking the rules (for some good clean fun) and some of us (me) wanted to cling to them.
As we made haste with our Picasso and all of the scrambling started to settle we gathered around to gaze at what had transpired just as the sun was setting. It was a beautiful portrait, not just what we had concocted and not just the amazing sunset but the friendships that stood around in a huddle to admire and talk about our friend we would miss so dearly, all the good memories of him we would hold close. We glanced around our group as we linked arms and prayed for our friend and each other. It was a touching moment to say the least. One that I have taken with me throughout all of these years.
On this night I didn't realize in one very short year I would be leaving this group. If I would have known that then I think I would have held on a little tighter. Looked each of them in the eye and told them how thankful I am for their friendship over all the years and loved them a little harder.
There is something to be said about having a group of guys and girls who know you; have seen you at your best and your worst. We were there when one of us lost a parent in death. We were there to support when some parents ended their marriage. We witnessed each of our salvation or rededication experiences. We have talked and listened and cheered each other on. There was no limit to what this group would have done for each other and I was blessed to be a part for the almost seventeen years I lived there.
"A friend loves at all times" (Prov. 17:17)
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for friendship. For guiding and directing godly parents in knowing what is best for their children. For unbreakable bonds through good times and not so good times. Thank You for love and acceptance and roads that lead us exactly where You want us to be. Thank You for that one certain group of people I will always call friends. I love You. Amen.