Sunday, November 22, 2009

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

The Girl Scouts taught me something very important: "Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold." We used to sing this little song as a round when I was in the Brownies in first grade. I don't think that I actually realized at the time what the song was really about, but I've come to learn the truth in these words over the years.

There was a time in my life when I was part of a very tightly-knit group of friends. We were all going through some emotional issues, and sometimes being a part of that group was difficult for me. Some people who cared about me advised me that it might be a good idea for me to get some new friends since I was under a lot of pressure from my current circle of friends. They were right—I needed to introduce some fresh perspectives into my life and to spend time with people who were different from the people who were emotionally draining me. I think that those who advised me to get new friends were suggesting that these new friends should replace my old friends, but that's not what I decided to do. I did need a little relief, so I started spending more time with new friends and a little less with my old ones, but this was simply an act of balance. Eventually the pressures in my relationships with my old friends eased, and we grew closer again. I needed to make new friends, but my old friends were far too valuable to me to be replaced.

I've realized that relationships change over time. There is an ebb and a flow to friendship that is dictated in part by things like geography and age. When friendships change, however, that doesn't mean we should ditch them in favor of a new and fresh relationship. I enjoy the excitement of making new friends and meeting people who are at the same places in life that I am. Still, there's something incomparably comforting about having old friends who know me inside and out even if we've grown apart a bit in recent years. I've realized that balance is very important and that's why I need both old and new friends. I need all different kinds of friends who can help make me a well-rounded individual. I have friends I can call when I need to hang out and do something fun. I have friends I can call when I need advice. I have friends I can call when I need to hear a familiar voice or to immerse myself in someone else's life for a while.

Whether old or new, a friend is something precious that I must not take for granted. When a new friend calls me and asks me to lunch, I should realize what a great opportunity that is and seize it joyfully. When I sit next to an old friend and we have a long conversation by saying very little, I should be struck with wonder at what years of love can do. Today I have a strong network of friends both old and new, and they are even more precious to me than silver and gold. My most valued possessions may someday tarnish, break, or disappear, but the love my friends give me will always be in my heart, even long after they are gone. I thank God every day for my friends. They make such an incredible difference in my life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I just came across your essay and it really helped me. My friends are changing all around me and it is really difficult. We have been friends since college and I guess I have to realize we can grow apart and maybe come back together.
I am a Christian also and I believe your writing was a blessing for me today.
Be blessed.

Christian Love Lessons - Free Blogger Templates - by Templates para novo blogger