This morning I texted my friend Debbie from the school parking lot after dropping off the little one. She was free, so I drove the short distance to her house and we did what we often do: walked and talked.
We have a few differences, Debbie and I. Her children are grown, and she lived a good portion of her life in North Africa. She has an amazing gift for loving people, and her hospitality is second to none. We’ve been friends for ten(ish) years and she is one of my absolute favorite people on the planet.
Deb and I hit the streets and the worries and joys of weeks gone by spill out as we round the loop and she stops to take a picture of a heavy white magnolia blossom. For an hour we pound the pavement. We laugh and lament and pray. It is a blessing to have a friend to walk with.
Now I am home, curled up in a comfy leather recliner, coffee cup perched in my lap as I write, thinking about this journey called life. We cross paths with so many people; all trying to find their way to somewhere or something. How sweet it is to find friends headed in the same direction you can walk beside.
Following Jesus is not an easy road. Some friends journey with us for a short time and then they are gone. Some appear to be walking along the same path, but they get further and further away the longer you go. But there are those exceptional friends who stick close to Jesus and keep step beside you. They will be there to hold you up when you stumble; to shine the light when the road ahead is dark and unknown. Stay close to them. You’re going to need each other.
Life is so much sweeter in the company of friends who love you, encourage you, and don’t leave you stranded in the potholes and ditches, even though you dug some of them yourself. Instead, they help you brush off the dirt and walk slowly beside you as you regain your footing, reminding you of the joy waiting at the end of your journey.
Faithful friends are one of God’s greatest blessings. I’m feeling thankful this morning.