I have a friend coming for dinner tonight who was my next door neighbour in my dorm at Biola University in Southern California 18 years ago. She lives in Northern California, but is in town for a few days and I can hardly wait to see her.
Spending time with old friends is a form of time travel: a way to access myself at 19 years of age with all of my hopes and fears of that stage. We'll giggle and remember things we said and did, and find that those memories are just as fresh as if they happened yesterday instead of almost two decades ago.
Longtime friends give you back a piece of yourself, because they have been holding it for you. They knew you at a certain stage in your life, with all of your frailties and mistakes, and they loved you then and they love you now. It's a powerful thing to spend time with those who started a journey with you a long time ago and are still on it today. You grow up together, even if you are far apart, because whenever you see that person it is like a snapshot of who you once were, and a measuring stick for how far you have come in your life.
My oldest friendship dates back to elementary school, and is still going strong today. We've had many ups and downs, and differences of opinion, and varying life tracks, but we've always been in touch. We're going to visit her and her family this upcoming weekend, so this whole week is one to celebrate enduring friendships.
In our fast-paced society, it is easy to lose touch with those we love. Facebook makes it a little easier, but effort must be made in order to remain connected, even electronically. I believe it is worth any effort or expense to stay in touch with a few people who knew us as kids and teens as it forms a deep connection and bond that can help us through the toughest times we'll face in our adult lives.
I'm looking forward to tonight. Physically we will have changed, and our kids will run around and interrupt us as we visit and laugh, but that's okay. We are still the same inside. We still value each other as people and friends, and we have chosen to stay in touch with each other, and old friends are a valuable commodity in this life.