I have made many acquaintances through the years but the number of people I call friends is limited. You see—friends are the ones that, though we may have been separated by miles and years, we can greet after that separation and take up where we left off, although we may have not seen them for years. I recently had the experience of that as my wife and I visited three old friends in Chicago that date back to my days of teaching there and living in the “co-ops” in Park Forest, Illinois when our children were young. I spent two wonderful evenings with them and it was a heart-warming experience.
Friendships are built by caring about each other. They are built on the sharing of our lives with each other. They are built by experiences of support when we needed it and giving support when they needed that support. Friendships are something that build slowly over the years.
Old friendships remind me of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, or as I prefer to call it the Parable of the Loving Father, that Jesus told. The Father waits for years until his son returns and then runs to meet him, throws his arms around him, and welcomes him. God is like that, Jesus taught.
Just as my old friends reached out to me, gave me a hug, and greeted me warmly, so God does to those of us who have gone far away and come back. Thank you God, for old friends. Thank you for being my friend as well as my God.