"Make new friends, but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold." You've probably heard that familiar poem by Joseph Parry. Last night I was blessed to meet new friends AND visit with old. My heart is full!
A few friend brings excitement and joy and possibility with shared interests or passions or people. With me, it's often a shared love of books or flowers or travel. My boss and I were at a conference in Phoenix a few years ago. I arrived a lunch function a few minutes before she did and sat found a couple of open seats at a table. I introduced myself to a lady beside me and within minutes we were chatting non-stop about our favorite books and authors and bookshops. My boss joined us and I introduced them: "This is Caroline from Georgia." My boss asked later, "How do you know her?" I said, "Oh, we just met." She had the most puzzled look on her face.
Truly kindred spirits come in the form of a shared faith, a shared spirit. Usually, you don't have to talk with someone very long before you feel that spirit connection. Is you mind taking you back to times that's happened. Maybe it's a salesperson, a new co-worker, an encounter in the airport or at a conference, maybe it's the spouse of an old friend, or the opportunity to finally meet someone in person that you've only talked to or connected with online. Soon, someone brings church or God or a scripture into the conversation and off you go. You've just met a brother or sister in Christ and you know your spirit is intertwined with them forever. Silver.
I loved my college days. I had three roommates that I treasure to this day. Without divulging ages, let's just say I've known them more of my life than I haven't. They all live in other parts of the county so it's not often that I have the pleasure of seeing them in person. Facebook, texting, even video apps are wonderful, but they're not a substitute for quality time! When I do see them in person, my hugs are more like clings; it's hard to let go.
Time with an old friend touches a place deep in your spirit. You've lived life together...real life. You've cried together, laughed together, been silly, been vulnerable, probably done some stupid (but memorable!) things. You share stories that you don't have with anyone else -- a unique history. You are known and still loved. And with time, you cherish those people that stay. It doesn't matter where they are geographically; they are with you and you cherish them. Gold...more purified, more refined, more precious with time.
The Bible tell us that we have a new relationship with God through Christ -- the relationship of friendship. Romans 5:11 is one of the verses in which God describes us as His Friend. At the same time, Psalms tell us that God created us in our mother's womb and loved us even before he created the world (Ephesians 1:4). So we have a full and complete friendship with God, a perfected friendship...new and old. Silver and gold. Paul nailed it in Romans: We can rejoice at this wonderful news!
I am so thankful for these (and other) golden friends.