I sat across the table listening to their laughter and admiring the bond between two older women I’d just met at a luncheon. Their friendship was uncommon and my heart craved the kind of connection they had.
The way they loved each other, how well they knew each other and how much they enjoyed being together reminded me of a Hallmark commercial. But this wasn’t television, it was real life.
When I asked how long they’d known each other, they both replied, “More than 60 years.”
More than 60 years? Now I was more interested in listening than eating lunch. I put down my fork and picked up a pen to take notes. How did they meet? What did they do to build a lifelong friendship? What kind of moments and memories filled all those years and kept their hearts so closely knit together? Here’s what I discovered:
1.They were intentional about making their friendship last because it mattered to them. After meeting in grade school, their friendship grew and continued long after they both married their high school sweethearts, who played football together.
2. Things had to be planned and time together had to be priority. Their families vacationed together for years. And when they were young and had little money, they’d all get together for a meal while the kids played in the yard. But as their kids got older it became more challenging, so they’d get together and play cards once a week — a tradition that was still going strong.
3. They determined early on they would be there for each other no matter what. These two lifelong friends were now widowed and counted on each other for companionship and laughter, weekly shopping adventures and everything in between. And they had an understanding between them. If one of them starts feeling down she’ll call the other and say, “Hey, I need to get out of the house.” And then they go do something together.
I thought about how different our generation is, how busy we are. How much we rely on screen time more than face-to-face time.
A twinge of sadness came over me. Would there be anyone in my life I would have known for 40 or 50 years, much less 60 years, when I am 70 or 80 years old? Besides my husband, which friend will be able to finish my sentences? Who will know me better than I know myself?
From the beginning of time, God created us to be in relationship — with Him and each other.
Designed in His image, our need for connection comes from God, who has always been in community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ final prayer for His friends challenges me. In it, He prays they will know the Father the way He does, and that the world would know His love because of their love for one another, “… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:21a).
In Jesus’ prayer for His closest friends, we find His heart’s desire for us to be closely connected with each other.
How can we do this better? Could we get creative and get together for lunch during a busy workday, or meet to plan menus for our families each week, do laundry at one of our houses, take turns cleaning out each other’s closets or running errands together?
That was their secret. They wanted to be together and so they made sure they were.
Lord, the longer I live the harder it seems to build close friendships. With family and work, and all I have on my plate, intimate friendships drop to the bottom of my priorities. And yet I know real-life friendships are part of what You want for me. Show me how to get creative, find a new starting point and be intentional by reaching out to a friend this week.
How often do you make time for friendships? What is one step you can take today to grow closer to a friend you already have or make a new one?Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Making time for friendship is a choice I continually have to make. I’m the first to admit that I get lazy at times and can lets weeks slide by. I learned I had to get creative with my connecting. When my close friend and neighbor and I had young children we’d have “ironing day” (I know no one irons anymore, but we did back then). We’d drag our stuff to be ironed along with our brood over to the other person’s house. One of us would iron for awhile while the other was on crowd control duty. We’d talk and laugh amidst the chaos. Then we’d switch roles and the other would take over ironing. Didn’t matter whose shirts were being ironed, but the job got done. If we were lucky we’d sneak in a cup of coffee during the “event” lol. Afterward, was a rousing game of pick up the mess. Then we’d take our ironed clothes and our exhausted kids home and put them down for a nap. Then that glorious moment of peace and contentment knowing a friendship was cultivated, a chore was accomplished and we had at least an hour or more of peace. Good stuff…good memories. Great post!
Jennie Cass says
Caroline (in UK) says
My best friend and Prayer Partner and I, we met when I was 33, she was39, both with young children. We met in a prayer group, 1 year after I moved into the neighborhood.
Our friendship has been for nearly 45 years,although she & her husband have moved more than 5 times.They are now 2 hours drive away, (and she can no longer
er meet me halfway).
Sadly, in her 80s now, she has been diagnosed and receiving treatment for early dementia…but . nothing has changed with the bond between us. I make even more of an effort to spend time with her when ever I can, and we phone at least twice a week.
The long memories, and relationship with God and His Word are all still intact; only recent memories vanish away.
We have been there for each other through many a painful trial, as well as times of rejoicing,which has forged a lasting loving relationship, for which we are both deeply thankful to our heavenly Father !… “The giver of all good gifts”.
Renee Swope says
This is such a beautiful story of a lifetime love and friendship. Thank you so much for sharing Caroline.
Renee Swope says
“Making time for friendship is a choice I continually have to make.” Me too Bev. It so easy to get “too busy” to get together. I love your ironing day tradition. I have a friend who I used to go to Bible study with every Tuesday, but that study ended so now we are trying to go walking together each week. It’s one of my favorite things to look forward too.
Great ideas, thank you! Let’s don’t forget that GOD created families for such a special bond, to continue through the years in our lives also. I pray for families who have been torn apart.
Corena Hall says
There is family we are born into, the one we marry into but the world would be brighter if we understand the concept of God’s family…those around us we can shelter, help, break bread with, love and pray for. Living the way Jesus did blows apart the concept of what is family and how we must include not preclude others.
Renee Swope says
Yes, you are so right NJ. There is a value to both. I am soooo grateful my husband is my closest friend. It’s something we worked on from the time we started dating. And a sweet gift I am seeing as my boys get older is that they’ve become some of my wisest advisors and encouragers. I guess it’s good to remember the consistent ways we can pursue that too, through breakfast and lunch dates, family nights, etc, now that they’ve moved out. We’ve had to work at it but gosh it’s such a huge blessing. Thank you for reminding me and us all. 🙂
Jennie Cass says
Theresa Boedeker says
Friendship takes time and. Commitment, just like you said. I am being more intentional and setting aside time for friendship. Sometimes I make phone dates, a predetermined time to call, with friends out of the state. There always seems to be a million other things needing done, but I am also seeing that making time for friends is not really keeping me from accomplishing the stuff I need to get done in life. But perusing friendship is making me happier and better able to face the daily challenges.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Renee Swope says
Amen and me too. Friendship fills me up in a way that getting things done just can’t.
Naomi Fata says
In college I met two young women and some how we formed and ‘uncommon’ connection. I live in NY, one lives in Oregon and one lives in China most of the time. Distance is hard but it has been 13 years (if my math is correct). We have vacationed together a few times when the China friend is in the states and then also alternates between flying to the others place (except for Going to China) . Somehow we have tried to make a point of connecting. Within the last year we started an ongoing text conversation through what’s up app. It’s challenging but with it and I pray that we will have 60 years of friendship.
Renee Swope says
What a beautiful friendship that has endured lots of move and miles between. But I love how you keep making the effort to stay connected. You know each other like so few do. What a gift!
This is wonderful. I have a few friends that I meet with from time to time but not as often as we would like. The best gift God gave me last year was connecting with friends that I had from elementary school. We lost contact after I moved away in high school. A “vintage” group was created for our school and once I joined we all found each other. Its amazing what you remember after 40 years. We’ve been sharing and connecting ever since.
Renee Swope says
That’s so fun! I love how you’ve rekindled childhood friendships.
A part of me has been craving connection with others. We will take time for what matters most in our lives. I have to be intentional about making those connections with others. If I don’t, it won’t happen! Today I’m going to take those steps to make those connections! Thank you for your beautiful devotion!☺️
Renee Swope says
Good for you Darlene! I have to be intentional too. We all do. I have a coffee date with a friend tomorrow morning that we put on our calendar over a month ago. Can’t wait!
Such a blessing, true friends are and actually quite rare! Each day, I thank God for being by far my closest friend and in return, the Lord reminds me NOT to be a loner. You see, I barely have any friends but one true friend is from Germany and we totally “get each other” and though we don’t even e-mail often, we pray for each other and encourage each other in the Lord. In fact, I will e-mail right now and thank her for our rare friendship. Thank you for this wonderful reminder of being a good friend.
Renee Swope says
I love that today’s post prompted you to send her a note to let her know how rare and valued your friendship is. Having someone who “gets you” is such sweet gift. 🙂
Rufina Fang says
How true and sweet is that to have real BFF and ever .. but yes, honestly how many of us can have that kind of heart-to-heart friendship and sisterhood ? Often, I’d wonder too, what if my spouse were no longer with me… I am now convinced that we should make all the effort to keep in precious touch ; and if not face-to-face, we should make the best of all IT tools available in order to do so. Now, go make that phone call. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing……your story is such a beautiful and intimate view into your heart. I have a few close friends, but only one stands out as that beautiful special friendship. When I was younger I sought many close friendships, mainly because there were so many wonderful women I wanted to know and be surrounded by in my life, yet only one is like that friendship. Ours is only 20 some years old but if it’s endured this long, I know it will continue until the end. You know that if it is your desire, your loving Father will give you that friendship because it’s His desire for us to know that kind of closeness. Just like their friendship caused you to yearn for that intimate connection, so also will yours because, like you said so well, we are made for just that kind closeness, with Him and others.
Renee Swope says
Jenn, twenty years is a long time and a beautiful gift. You got me to thinking about some friends I’ve known for probably that long, and I guess I just need to make sure I take time to get together with them. Most live out of town but it’s so worth it when we see each other. It’s like we’d been together all that time between!
I struggle with the fact that I always try to make time for friendships, but others seem to be so busy It’s so hard, but I’m praying for God to direct.
Renee Swope says
I’ve been there too, Jacinta. Praying for you to find that friend who is looking for one too. 🙂
Kay S says
So good. So so so so good. All the good.
This article reminds me of my best friend and myself. We also have been friends for over 60 years. God knew what He was doing when we first became friends in the first grade. We have been there for each other for so many things that have happened in our lives. When we get together, we still have a great time.
Melderine James-Gayle says
This post hits close to my heart as my best friend since high school passed away three years ago from pancreatic cancer. We were twelve when we first met, but we did mot connect right away. She was quiet and she and I was a bit of a comedian and very much a people person. Right after high school I migrated to Canada and she came a few years later. When I told her I was leaving she was heart broken. However we reconnected once more. We knew each other for more than fifty years. We we miles apart when she met and married her husband and had her first child. However I was in the Labour room with her on the birth of her second. She divorced her husband and moved on with her life. I would never allow myself to listen to any negative stories about her. In the last two years before she passed away she came to live with my husband and me. It was during that time she was diagnosed with cancer. I nursed her. Prepared her meals. Bathed her when she was too weak to even stand up. She was my best friend I could barely stand to look into her eyes as pain racked her body. Its been fours years since she passed and I can still hear her calling me. When Kate and William were married. We awoke at two am. She wore a fascinater and I wore a dollar store crown. We served each other tea and cookies as we watched the wedding we laughed till we cried trying to keep our voices lowered so as not wake my husband. To took many things from my closet with no apologies declaring that I could easily sew another one. Through her she has left me connected to three of her friends with whom I have developed relationships. Sometimes I can’t believe she is really gone I miss her a lot. Even when we fought it would never last a moment after. Love built a solid bridge between our hearts and I hope to see her again one day.
This is beautiful. I have a few very good friends that stretch across the years and miles, but none that I’ve had since childhood.
Kelli McKnight says
Beautiful message today! I want to always be one that cherishes my oldest/dearest friendships, while fostering new ones as well. We need them all. But those that have stuck around the longest, they have a reserved corner booth in my heart!
Rebecca L Jones says
My house has a mixture of relatives now due to illness and family crisis. God has blessed us to be able to help. When my aunt moved in after recovering from a hospital stay, (she almost died and in September and moved in by Thanksgiving), she watched a lot television, but she is now going to a senior center and I think that’s a great idea for older people who just want to have someone to visit with. Maybe, all they need is encouragement. I think you are right about the times changing and we can rely too much on the internet. We all experience that get out the house mentality. And Bev, I know people who iron. Personally, I’m glad the dryer has a wrinkle freesetting.
Lynn Beasley says
I’m not the only one that feels that way! Thank you Renee! I’ll be 50 this year and I find it very difficult to develop those relationships, especially life-giving, iron sharpens iron relationships. Social media gives people the false elusion that they have friendships. Connecting on a face-to-face level takes time and effort. We are on the older end of the age bracket at our church. I have found that connecting on a personal level is becoming a lost art, even in the church, where people are busy doing wonderful things for the Kingdom of God. And what is God asking me to do…pursue those valued relationships. Be the one to initiate. Show that person that I value them. My love to you and your family!
I would love to have a friendship like those women have. There are a few women in my life that I get together with from time to time and one I see on a fairly regular basis, but we don’t have that kind of closeness. My husband is one who had a job that involved dealing with people on a regular basis so we didn’t really have couple friends, even when our kids were growing up. Now that he is retired, he still doesn’t want to make friends with couples to hang out with. We are snowbirds so spend our winters in SC. I work from home so as long as I have Internet service I can still do my job. I have a few more years to work before I retire. Working from home, I have isolated myself so I don’t get many opportunities to meet people and make new friends. There is an opportunity coming up at the church we attend to connect with people who have similar interests, similar in age, etc., and I’m thinking about attending this as I would really like to make some new friends. I’m praying for the courage to do this as fear has tried to talk me out of it. Thank you, Renee, for this message and for the words you spoke the other night on FaceBook Live. That message really tugged at my heart.
Love this as many of my friendships stretch across miles and are going on 20+ years. Each one adds a very important element and needed part to my life’s jouney. I thank the Lord for them. We are all now entering in our 50s with children entering into adulthood. I believe we are more appreciative of our relationships as we transition to this next phase of our lives.
Caroline (in UK) says
I`d like to add that I am the oldest of 5 siblings, spanning 14 years. And Now aged between61 & 75.
Thanks to early guidance of loving parent, with godly wisdom, we are all still in frequent contact, in Christian fellowship with each other, and there for each other and our families. What a privelege!
“To whom much is given, of them will much be required”
Thank you for being this kind of friend to me…and inspiring others to do the same! xoxo
This is a great reminder, especially for women – mom’s of younger kids – in a busy stage of life. I find the more I talk to people, friends, these days, they are overwhelmed, always “busy” and exhausted from their day, and so friendships and connection are now the last thing on their mind and just another burden of having to give of themselves. An interesting season for me, where I do have more time and am less inclined to conversations by text or email and so I’ve really been missing the deep friendships with these women I’ve had for years. Especially these “spiritual friendships” that really speak to my heart. My prayer is that in these times where it is easy to be “busy” for busy’ sake, we find time to still have community and not isolate ourselves, which can really highlight exhaustion, etc., because people often stop doing the things that fill them up. For me, that is connecting with a friend.
Paige E says
I don’t think I’ve ever had a friendship like that. Wow! I wish we as women could decide to throw out the comparison, judgmental, defensive attitudes and just be together to support each other. My Mom and I share a very special bond like this and she’s about the only women who knows me and loves me just as I am.
Beth Williams says
God made us for community. We have to be intentional and make ourselves take the time to talk and be with others. I have a group of ex-co-workers, we call ourselves the Final Five. We are the last five of the “original” people who worked at the office(from 2007-2015). We try to meet once a month at various restaurants. We have been there for each other in good and bad times. We’ve prayed for each other and our families. I also have good friends from church that I can call or text just about any time. One friend and I went through “aging” parents at the same time. We could commiserate with each other.
Good long standing friendships can only happen if each party is not jealous of each other. That’s to say, sincerity, and genuine feelings for one another.
Making friends seem more like a matter of chance to me now. Although I value connection and will try to make time to connect, I could hardly find anyone among my ‘friends’ who think likewise. It is as hard as finding that one true love!
My very best friend and I are 28 and 27, respectively. We met in the church nursery as 2yo and have been together ever since. This past summer we celebrated (long distance) our 25th friendiversary. We live on opposite sides of the country and haven’t seen each other in almost 2 years but we still talk regularly. Our little girls are 3 weeks apart so our conversations have changed from future children to “what do you do when she does ____?” I know its rare to not have a time when I didn’t know her and I treaure our friendship. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.
Lisa T says
Thanks for sharing Renee! I love how God created us with a need to have real relationships with Him and with each other! It is totally central to God’s heart and is something so precious indeed 🙂 I know as I have gotten older I realize I have to be intentional with my friendships but I have also learned God will clearly show us which friendships are meant to last and which are for a season. It isn’t humanly possible to be close friends with everyone in our lives through every season and I know this but I used to feel like I had to keep up equally well with everyone in my life but relationships aren’t meant to be a chore, they should be a joy to maintain and care for! God has granted me so much grace in this area and is still teaching me the importance of friendships in my life especially my girlfriends, no one can take the place of godly women who love Christ and share in our ups and downs of life while holding us accountable and encouraging us through the journey. Christ-centered friendships are such an amazing picture of God’s love for us!