Friendship takes many forms in our lives. Some friends develop into intense relationships for a short season, and then move out of our lives due to geography, differences of opinion, or busy schedules. Others form slowly and continue to grow for the rest of our lives. New friends, old friends, or growing friendships - in whatever form they take, my friends add so much depth and joy to my life.
In giving of ourselves to others, we find that we are being nurtured and blessed. This happened to me yesterday with a group of friends at our holiday open house. We have been hosting these annually for the twelve years we've been married, and it's always such an interesting group of people that ends up gathering and connecting.
You can't predict these things. You never know if anyone is going to come, but then there is a knock at the door, and groups of people are in your house, mingling and meeting and visiting while eating and drinking. Throughout the years and the various cities we've lived in, we've seen new friendships form out of these parties, and it's fun to sit back and watch people connect and enjoy each other.
At our hearts, we all long to be connected and live in some form of community. That closeness with others opens us up to hurt people and be hurt, with our words and our actions, but it also provides the sweetest opportunities to feel close to another human being; to share what's in our hearts and minds and find kinship with another person. When we are thrust together with others and we take the time to talk and listen, amazing points of connection begin to appear, and inroads are made towards relationships which can go the distance in our lives.
We all need friends. People we can rely on in the good times as well as the tough ones, and when I stand back and recognize the value of those people in my life, it stirs up intense gratitude and warmth deep inside of me. I'm thankful today for how much I've been given by my friends.
I enjoyed watching my kids yesterday as well, opening the door to guests, taking coats, welcoming their friends to come and play. If hospitality is dying away in our culture, then the next generation can revive it. I want my kids to value opening their doors to their friends and neighbours, because we've seen such incredible relationship flow from placing value on these things.
Friendship is alive. It moves and changes and flows between people. Where it is allowed to flourish, it nourishes and sustains those who are sharing it. Today I am celebrating what I have been given and what I can give. My gratitude in this area knows no limits, and to those who have added so much rich beauty to my life, I thank you.