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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Friends Forever
Date Posted: March 31, 2007

Some old friends traveling through town stopped and had lunch with me this week. It was fun to fill each other in on the details of our lives which are not usually disclosed in the standard Christmas card or a brief email. The interesting thing was that very little of our conversation involved reminiscing. We didn't sit around and say, "Remember when . . .". Instead we talked about what is going on in our lives and the lives of our family members and our plans for the future.

I've noticed this happens with good friends. It's fun to have a "remember when" session, but true friendship is when you can meet for the first time in a year or two and pick up where you left off before. It's when you have more in common than a shared past. This is particularly true when friends share the common denominator of the Lord being their first priority. I have friends who sometimes will just call or email out of the blue, often on a day or week when I really needed encouragement or just a friendly word. Friends who love with the love of the Lord.

How good does it feel to walk into a room of over 100 people, late, and have the speaker stop and warmly say, "Look who's here! We haven't seen you in a long time. We're so glad you came today." This is an experience I had a few weeks ago. The best part was they meant it! All day people came up to us, gave us hugs, asked what we'd been up to and told us how happy they were that we came. Again, the love of the Lord shone through!

I relate life experiences through music and there are many memorable songs about friends. The first one I learned was as a six-year-old Brownie You probably know it: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." Then there's the memorable TV theme from the Golden Girls, "Thank You for Being a Friend". Of course, I can't forget Michael W. Smith's classic words, "friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them." So true!

I have built relationships with Christians through various contacts at church camp, Bible Bowl, and campus ministry which have endured for years and I'm convinced it's because of our common goal - sharing the love of Christ. I have other friends with whom I spent more time and even lived with for several years and we barely keep in touch. What's the difference? These friends and I don't share that bond of being one in the Spirit and we no longer have a common denominator.

Building Christian friendships is something I want to do more of and something I hope my children will be able to achieve. These friendships are not limited by crises or distance or even this lifetime - they are limited only by our willingness to love. Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times."

In speaking to his apostles, Jesus said in John 15:14, "You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." In fact, Jesus displayed a close friendship with John, who was known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved".

This week I will specifically thank God for my friends, those gold ones who have been faithful through the years and pop up periodically to make me smile, those silver ones I have just met and will have an opportunity to bless, and those with whom I have not yet made an acquaintance. I hope you'll do the same.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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