Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sustaining Friendships

When I went off to college, I was a part of this amazing world where new friends fell from the rafters.  Between Bible studies, philanthropic events, musical ensembles, group projects, sorority life, and sorority recruitment, I made so many friends.  Each and every day, I was meeting someone for coffee or a walk or lunch to simply catch up.

I really figured that this would be the case for the rest of my life -- new, genuine friendships forming all the time.

I guess my alma mater, Washington and Lee University, was just really a special place, because forming friendships have been difficult for me ever since.

It has not become easier living in very small, rural Rifle, Colorado, and working a job where I have no daily colleagues.  Each year, I have the same students, but a new batch of teachers with whom I work.  I also cover 150 miles of terrain -- these are unique and difficult situations for building a network of girlfriends.

Since new friendships are hard, I am so incredibly blessed that my husband agrees with me in the priority we put on the old friendships we have.

We live in a day and age when it really is very easy to keep in touch with old friends.  With email, texts, facetime, facebook, photosharing, and more, it really is easy to keep up long-distance friendships.  Nevertheless, there is something so beautiful and magical about two long-distance, old friends being able to re-connect in person and just pick right up where they left off.

I recently had two friends travel and come within 400 miles of Rifle... Hubby and I did not hesitate to make sure one or both of us traveled the distance to reconnect with these dear, old friends.

My friend, Mary Carol (my sorority big big big sis) came to Denver for work, and was in town from San Francisco.  Tracey Ann and I took a long day driving to and from Denver just to meet her for dinner, but the trip was totally worth it.  This was my fifth time getting to see Mary Carol in the last twelve years.

Another friend, Catherine (my sorority little sis) came to Salt Lake City for work, and was in town from Mississippi.  That trip coincided with a weekend and so the whole crew, Hubby, Tracey Ann, Lexie and I traveled the 300+ miles to meet her for dinner (Lloyd had fun at the dog-sitter's house).  This was my fourth time to see her in the last ten years.

These are dear, dear friends and, really, life isn't going to bring them to tiny Rifle, CO very often -- maybe once a lifetime.  I am so lucky that I never had to convince Hubby if we should travel hundreds of miles to see my friends -- we just had to brainstorm how was the best way to do it.   He understands and supports my desire to make up the difference in travel when they are in the mountain timezone.

Friendships don't just magically last for a lifetime, and there is something about sitting across the table from an old friend for a few hours and just picking up right where you left off the last time you saw each other.  That effort of re-connecting in person is what sustains friendship across time and distance.

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