In September of 2010, I spent a weekend at Smith Mountain Lake, here in Virginia. It was a weekend spent playing games, sitting on the dock, and going out on the boat while catching up with some of the best friends I’ve ever known. After those few days, my abs were in pretty good shape due to all the laughing that I did.
On Sunday morning, we had a short devotion led by Shannon, who talked to us about the importance of our friendships. Specifically, she spoke about how important we, as a group, are to one another. We’re a group of adults who started out as a group of kids trying to navigate our way through college. Throughout the previous 10 years, we had been there for each other to celebrate the good times and help each other to get through the bad.
Shannon shared a passage from Ecclesiastes and was able to remind us just how much we all mean to each other. We’re all grown-ups now. We all have lives. Many of the people in the group are married and even have children. So we all stay pretty busy with everything that goes on from day to day. But when it comes right down to it, we can always count on each other. We may not see each other or even get a chance to speak to each other for weeks or even months at a time, but at a moment’s notice, any of us could call another of these friends and know that they would be there for us in a heartbeat.
I may not be related to any of these friends, but to me, they are family. They’re a unique group of individuals, with whom I can just be myself. No matter what goes on in each of our lives and no matter how much time passes, we’re still able to get together and pick right up where we left off. We’re able to laugh at each other and with each other. We’re able to share our lives and decisions without fear of being judged for our mistakes. We’re able to pick each other up when we fall and are able to honestly share in our faith.
I’ve had friends in my life who have come and gone, but I’ve never experienced a group quite like this. I’ve never been closer to a group of individuals before college or since. One of the things we touched on in our discussion that morning was our belief that God brought us all together back in college and He has kept us grounded in our friendships with Him as our foundation. God knew that we, as a group, would be well suited to play off each others strengths and weaknesses, able to encourage, love, and pray for each other. God definitely blessed me by putting these people in my life so many years ago.