True friends are your family

Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.

~ Proverbs 18:24 The Message

Never, ever underestimate the value of friendship. When I was a kid, there were aspects of my growing up years that were lonely and challenging for me. I’m sure that many, many others in my shoes would have thought that our family situation was wonderful. I don’t want to communicate a lack of gratitude or misrepresent the times that were not only fun but quite adventurous. But for my particular personality, our vagabond tendency to move from city to city was stressful.

My saving grace was the time I spent at my grandparents’ home. In the summer I was allowed to go stay with them, and their block welcomed me like one of their own - particularly the Harwards who lived next door. I’ve written about them so many times, I’m sure that if you’ve hung out with me or read our blog - you feel like you know them too! These folks extended themselves for me. They went out of their way to be kind. They reminded me of who I was when all the moving often left me feeling uncertain about my own identity. They held the memory of me over the long haul.

When my mother died, they mourned with me. When their dad died, I mourned with them. Much of what I believe about hospitality, kinship, kindness, love and generosity have their roots in the deep and abiding foundation of the friendships we forged over decades. I may have been a rolling stone gathering no moss, rolling but Ruby Street was solid ground and provided a firm foundation for growing up in a loving environment.

Friendships may come and go, but we should fight to keep them if at all possible. Because a friendship can not only save a life, it can redefine it, redeem it, restore it, and even give a lonely little girl something to hold onto with joy.