Last Saturday I had a phone call from my longtime friend Mary. Having moved several thousand miles from each other in the last year, we agreed to be intentional about monthly calls. She befriended me when I first moved to Chattanooga, where we worked together.. Over the years we have shared many good times. Outside work we spent time shopping or in activities with our daughters or our families. Early in our relationship we went on a family camping trip where I quickly learned the difference in our biological clocks! Terry and I were startled awake by the sound of breakfast underway and wondered aloud what could be possibly going on. Years later, Mary would come when my mother was dying. Several years after that I officiated at her daughter’s wedding.
Last Sunday evening, Terry and I enjoyed a lovely evening on a neighbor’s patio, with some new friends we are just getting to know in our new home. I first met last winter when I was walking at the high school during the cold weather. In the spring when I started a walking group at our church, she attended once and we had a conversation about writing. In the summer, she invited us to a little workshop in her home where she had invited a writer from Billings to lead us. We had friends visiting from Tennessee at the time and she invited them as well. Later she informed us about a writer’s group held at the library. Now Terry and I attend that group with her and others.
In my previous life as a therapist, I encountered clients without friendships and the support such relationships offer. People without those connections are at such a disadvantage. Sometimes they had been “burned” and were afraid to make friends. Sometimes their circumstances limited their opportunities. Sometimes their people skills were lacking. When their lives were embedded in significant other problems, the lack of a support network made everything harder.
So I cherish my friendships and am so grateful for them. Sometime in my teens I recall developing the notion that over the years I would have friends scattered everywhere so that no matter where I was, I would have friends available. I have in some small measure achieved that. With the addition of so many social platforms now, there are an increased number of ways to connect. So even in Montana, I have regular Friday zooms with friends back in the South. I am reminded of the song from my Campfire scouting days: “Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: “Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe called life.” — no attribution