I love friendships that last the distance and even traverse time. Don’t you? You know the ones I am talking about- the 40-year friendships that are still going strong. My mom, who is one of my greatest role models, has a friendship that has lasted over 40 years and is rock solid. My mom’s “bestie” has become like family to me and to mine. My kids call her grandchildren their “Virginia cousins” and are just as excited to see them as their flesh and blood relatives.
What a treasure to know someone and to be accepted by them through the test of time. How does a friendship like that work, you might ask…? I interviewed my mom and Ms. Patty, her faithful friend, about how their relationship has stayed nourished and how what started as a co-need for childcare turned into a life-long friendship.
One of the reasons they both credit their friendship is because of Jesus. Ms. Patty, who was just getting “into” the Bible, admired my mom’s bold faith. They joined a Stonecroft Bible study together in 1979 and 41 years later they still attend a group every month together. They were opposites then and now; my mom was raised in New Jersey with a large personality and Patty who was raised in Nebraska was quiet and reserved. They saw in each other beautiful qualities that they were both influenced by. When one needed lifting up the other would pray and offer encouragement. When one was weak, the other was strong. And they have needed to lean on each other as both have had Cancer scares with their husbands and the sadness of grandchildren living states away. Ms. Patty shared with me that she never had an older sister and that she has valued my mom and appreciated her as a confidant. My mom continues to see a patient, loyal and caring friend in Ms. Patty.
During the 41 years they have been friends, they weren’t always neighbors and lived 5 states apart at one point. They became busy in the throngs of raising their families but kept in touch with Christmas cards for almost 10 years. When a 60th birthday party brought them back together they acted as if it was “yesterday” and those years apart never happened. Now, these two special women live minutes away from each other in their retirement. They continue to complement each other so well; constantly thinking of each other, dropping off a tomato from their garden or asking what they can pick up from the store. They also continue to support and love each other’s families as their own. In their seventies, they still go to Bible study and prayer meetings, and out to lunch like besties.
I asked them both to give us advice about how to make friendships last and my mom said, “Sometimes you have to overlook stuff because- a friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17 a) Ms. Patty encourages us, “Hold onto the friends, that lift your hands up to victory.”
“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Exodus 17:12
Do you have a long-time friend that you have fallen back into place with afterlife has kept you apart? Treasure these friends because they are very rare. I actually have several friends myself that live on the other side of the continent, that I am still close with despite our distance. We keep in touch via Facebook, cards, phone calls and an occasional get together. After all, I have had the wonderful influence of my mom and Ms. Patty. I hope their steadfast friendship encourages you to pick up where you left off with a friend from your past or commit to making your current friendships last the test of time.