The Sunshine and Shadows of Friendship
To me, friendship is like the morning sun, casting long rays of sunshine and shadows that are always memorable. It is like a cup of my favorite tea (currently Keemun Has Ya): whether I am drinking it together with friends or alone, whether it was sweet or bitter, it is always fragrant and soothingly good. I’ve been fortunate to have many rays and even shadows throughout my lifetime.
One of those bitter sweet shadows is the memory of being the roommate to my friend whose husband had died suddenly, young, and unexpectedly. I found out one night on that trip that it was the anniversary of his passing. We stayed up late into the night and talked about him and his passing and I hope that my lending a ear to her sharing was beneficial to her—but whether it was or not, it taught me what grieving is and how one must bravely carry on while still allowing oneself to grieve over the loss of a part of oneself.
I remember an old friend in New Jersey who used to enjoy sharing a small drink with my husband as they joked and laughed together. His wife and children were close with our family. After bravely fighting cancer under the tender care by his wife and doing everything he could to take care of his family, he succumbed after a number of years. I miss him and the times we shared together—when our two families were so joyful in good times and how we commiserated together in bad times.
Then, there is another wonderful group of friends, each of us in various professions, each of whom are busy and successful and famous in our own award-winning lives. We strive to challenge each other intellectually, but at the same time we know we can ‘let our hair down’ with each other without repercussions. The conversations we’ve had over dinners and back porches and the solidarity of their friendship, prayer, and support for my recovery has been golden.
There is another extended group of friends that I pray for each night—whose names and faces I do not yet have the privilege of knowing until we meet face to face in eternity. These are friends of friends or friends of relatives who have so faithfully been praying for my recovery. They are like ripples in my pond ever extending. I pray that God will be close to them in their lives and reward them personally with His presence.
I also have friends of all ethnic and cultural background thanks to a bank I used to be the CEO of. We boasted about our ability to understand and speak 16 different languages! After the bank was sold for an offer so rich that the board could not refuse, I retired but part of the negotiation was that everyone else could stay. Now that I was no longer their boss, I could be a friend with no concern of the appearance of favoritism, and many of us remain friends face-to-face or through social media. But even that is not untouched by the shadows of death among them or their families. Friendship is always like tea—bittersweet but fragrant.
My local church family has also been so warm and supportive in my quarter of a century journey with them as a member or a co-worker—whether together on straight paths along meadows or rugged trails. I am truly blessed with the warmth and support I have among so many brothers and sisters in Christ.
Through sunshine and shadows, I am blessed with so many friends, too numerous to mention all of them here. My tea cup overflows with gratitude for their “hearts of gold” friendship.