For the last 5 years, Kari and I have had an annual get together with some friends from California. It is always fun. Everyone makes an effort to reconnect either in Washington or California and a couple weeks ago our friends flew out to Bellingham, Washington, to stay at our place.
With one family over 900 miles away and the other over 1100 miles, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it to connect. Once everyone arrived, we had a home full of 8 children under the age of 5 and six adults, it was a bit crazy, but fun. I’m not sure there was a moment of quite in our house from 6am to 12am those 3 days!
This experience reminded me of how much I value these friendships.
Coordinating this many people’s schedules is a big challenge and when you add in the kids, it becomes even more difficult. If you have young kids, you know traveling long distances on planes and in cars is not always easy! For us, the logistics of hosting this many people and kids was a challenge too. But with an RV in the driveway, a bunch of sleeping bags and blow up mattresses, we made it work. As I think about the fun of the weekend and the challenges to make it happen, a couple things about friendships come to mind.
If we want our friendships to last we have to put in the extra time and energy.
The relationships that last and have the most meaning are the ones we put the most time and energy into. Whether people are close or far, friendships where people put in the extra effort and go out of their way to see each other are the friendships that last and impact us the most. Just like we get to choose our friends, we get to choose how much effort we put into the friendships. If I get to choose my friends, I want to make sure to choose to put my energy into the right friendships too.
I’ve discovered, I’m sure you have too, the best friendships aren’t always the convenient ones. Sometimes this looks like traveling long distances. Comforting someone in the time of need or loss. Or it could simply be meeting a friend at a coffee shop at a time that doesn’t fit perfectly with your schedule. Or it’s an encouraging phone call or email at just the right time. When you find a truly great friend, no matter the challenge to keep them in your life, it is always worth the extra effort and time.
This type of friend doesn’t come around often.
In my life, I am grateful to have several friends that are willing to do this. And I hope I have many opportunities to put in the extra mile into these relationships. These are the friendships that change lives and challenge us to become better people. This is the friend that can tell you the truth when it hurts, that can hear your pain and complaints without judgment, and this is the friend you know you can always trust. Hold on to these friends, they don’t come around often.
Tell me about your friendship stories. Do you have friendships like this? How have you put in the extra effort and time to grow your relationships? How can you put extra effort into your friendships?