Friendship is a funny thing. Sometimes it sticks around for years, perhaps a lifetime, and other times it flits in and out from one person to the next.
I love the analogy of life as a hiking trail. As we walk along the trail of life there will be ups and downs, sharp turns and meandering clearings, rough terrain and the sandy beaches along the shore.
Each of our lives is like a trail and sometimes along that trail another trail will intersect it. Sometimes the paths intersect but only for a brief moment, other times they follow the same path for a time and then drift apart after a short time, other times two trails weave in and out intersecting many times whether for short periods or longer stays but maintain their distinctness, and yet other times two trails join together and become one.
These intersections each represent the people who come and go in our lives.
Some come through our lives for only the shortest time, yet even these can make a great impact on our lives if we let them. Others intersect for a short time, these are the friendships that we will build in a season of life but eventually going separate ways as life takes us on different paths. Others are lifelong friendships that regardless of where life takes us will intersect from time to time to remind us of the friends that we can count on. This final group represents another kind of relationship altogether that is the relationship that comes through marriage, where two trails join becoming one.
I want to talk a little about the first three: the intersections in life that represent our friends.
Sometimes our lives will intersect with others for only the briefest of times. Sometimes these intersections are so inconsequential that we fail to notice them, yet other times they represent some of the strongest influences in our lives as they redirect the path that we are following. Every day we intersect with the lives of others, but so often we fail to look around and allow those intersections to influence us when they should.
Sometimes we will build friendships that seem like they will last the test of time, but as life presents us different challenges and we grow and change we begin to drift apart. We begin to realize that these are seasonal friendships and that our paths are slowly drifting apart. Sometimes it’s worth the fight to maintain these kind of friendships, yet other times it’s okay to allow them to fade as the seasons change. I have had many of these kind of friendships in my life, and I would be willing to bet that we all have, friendships that last for a season and are valuable parts of our journey along the trail that is our lives, but eventually drifting apart.
Sometimes friendships last a lifetime both creating a unique trail of life sometimes walking in parallel and other times drifting far apart before intersecting again. These relationships are the ones that stand the test of time and distance and they are the relationships that often result in the deepest friendships. Often times we recognize these friendships calling them “best friends”, but other times these represent unexpected friendships that produce relationship and fruit over time.
I was coming home after going out with some friends after church tonight and it occurred to me how much I appreciate the friendships that I have with the individuals with whom I spend time with. Then it struck me, many of these friends were new friends that I am just beginning to build relationship with. I then began to realize that they were filling a space that other friends used to fill but as the seasons in our lives changed our lives drifted apart. These new friends have drifted into my life for a new season and I’m excited for the memories that we will build in this season, yet I know that this too will come to an end leaving us with lives that intersected for a time and drifted apart, but not without building up one another.
Each of our lives are like a trail and along our paths we will intersect with other people’s paths, whether for a short time or a long one. These intersections represent relationships in our lives and whether short-lived or long-term they all represent influence and memories in our lives. May we make the most of the relationships that we regardless of how long we assume they’ll be.