I hope, like me, you are blessed with friends who, even though you may not see them as often as you like, are so close that when you do get together it’s almost as if you carry on a conversation that was interrupted mid-sentence in spite of the time that’s passed.
I treasure those folk and the early moments of reconnection; not just because of the shared history that enables us to pick up where we left off, but because our friendships are mature enough to take into account the adaptation, change and growth in each of us that has resulted from un-shared experiences in the meantime.
I’ve run into a lot of old friends recently and it’s been wonderful to catch-up and renew acquaintance with them. But I did meet up with one person I’d not seen for a while and, though it really was lovely to see them again too, their attempt to reconnect was flawed – they seemed to want to pick up exactly where they thought we’d left off. It would have been bad enough if they’d simply failed to take the intervening time into account but the attempted point of reconnection was so off-target in the first place and the whole experience was so awkward it put me a little in mind of this
“People understand me so little that they do not even understand when I complain of being misunderstood”. —Søren Kierkegaard
I remember how embarassing it was as a teenager to have my much-loved maternal grandmother give me a great-big nanny-hug as we were about to part after one of our infrequent visits. For several years she adopted the habit of taking that opportunity to whisper in my ear, “now remember to be a good boy for Jesus.” I knew what she meant and appreciated her desire to pass on to me something very previous to her in that moment – but awkward as that was – how ludicrous would it have been if she’d done the same thing when I said goodbye to her at my wedding reception ten years or so later!
I’m so grateful for friendships that don’t rely on us putting each other in little boxes and instead allow for us both to grow!
We may not be quite the same people we were the last time we met – but we still have common ground, common affection – and place sufficient value on our friendship to invest in getting back to the point of mutual understanding, recognising that our connection is only enhanced by encompassing the new things we both bring to it.