My best friend and shirt-tail cousin, Myra, and her college-aged daughter, Jennie, came for a week-long visit from out of state this week and left two days ago. We’ve been besties for almost 40 years, and have known each other since early childhood. There’s a certain comfort that comes from a friendship lasting that long, a joy that reaches deep.
When we were teenagers we’d lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, eating Red Vines, and talking of our dreams. Today we’re living them. Husbands and children, even grandchildren, are all answered prayers wearing flesh. We even began traditions we do to this day, like eating potato chips with cream cheese and onion dip. Important stuff!
This time, our young adult daughters drove themselves around, enjoying their own budding friendship, and it staked Myra’s and my friendship even more firmly. We know first-hand the blessing of sharing laughter, inside jokes, and simply a history of being young and growing older. I can only hope and pray our daughters can experience such luxury.
For over twenty years, we’ve lived in different states. Keeping a long-distance friendship thriving can be challenging, but a few things have helped Myra and I stay connected and pick up right where we left off whenever we get together.
- We use social media. It’s so much easier to stay in touch these days because of Facebook and other social media sites. Often, we’ll see something that reminds us of the other and we’ll post it on their page. It reminds us of our friendship and the history we share.
- We aren’t offended if months go by without a phone call or email. Let’s face it. Life is busy, especially when you’re raising kids or caring for elderly parents. Cut each other some slack. Just because contact isn’t made, doesn’t mean you haven’t been on their mind. Be glad they have a full life that keeps them occupied. You’ll hear from them when they need you most.
- Share life’s big moments. Whether you have great news to share, or your heart is breaking, share it with your friend. And when the shoe’s on the other foot, be a comforting, listening ear. These are the moments that cement your friendship.
- Laugh. Seriously. You can’t overdo this. I’m pretty sure Myra and I spent the first two days of her visit laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. It’s a wonder we’re still alive. Laughter is great medicine for anything that ails you. An added bonus this year was watching our daughters roll their eyes at us.
- Pray. And don’t be afraid to say so. Myra regularly tells me she’s praying for me and often even specific members of my family who may be going through a difficult time. And I do the same for her. Some days it’s a soothing reassurance knowing the small, simple fact that she’s praying. Which, of course, is anything but small.
These steps have served us well for over forty years. They aren’t rocket science. But they make our lives so much richer. Never underestimate the power of a solid, lifelong friendship. Even if it has to be enjoyed at a distance, it’s totally worth every ounce of effort.
How do you keep your friendships alive? Share in the comments below.