The crowd hushed into silence as the lights dimmed. Gold and white balloons were tethered to festive tables and a sparkly “Happy 50th” crowned a floral arrangement. Hands covered mouths to keep whispers low.
“Will they be surprised?”
“Do you think they know?”
“Are they here yet?”
When the happy couple arrived and discovered that friends from all over the state had assembled to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, their eyes moistened and their smiles broadened. Sheer joy froze them in place temporarily as they adjusted to the shock. Then, with boundless energy they began to circulate.
A look of delight resurfaced on the honorees’ faces each time they noticed another person in attendance, while guests enjoyed seeing friends they hadn’t visited with in years. Sparks of laughter and conversation heightened the energy level, and hugs and handshakes were as spontaneous as photo flashes. The son and daughter hosts beamed with pride at their parents’ response.
Laughter erupted as an old friend related the story of how the couple met on a college campus. When Ragan spied Susan, he’d questioned a dorm mate, “Who is that pretty girl you were talking to? What’s her name?”
“She’s from my hometown. Want to meet her?” came the reply. The rest is history, fifty years of history.
Eyes glistened as the son and daughter lauded their parents’ achievement of creating a Christ-centered home where children were cherished and supported. In those moments, we were all family. Warmth, joy, comfort, and gratitude filled my heart. Why did I feel this unexpected wave of emotion?
My husband and I had shared life with these folks, both honorees and fellow guests. We’d raised our children in the same church. We had celebrated the birth of children and grandchildren, and mourned the deaths of parents. Cheering our children’s successes and praying for their struggles had been a group effort. Some had been neighbors, and some had worked in Vacation Bible School or youth ministry together. We’d shared life’s “ups and downs” as we built marriages and homes. While traveling the road from “young married” status to senior adulthood, we had created the memories we now shared.
The bond of love with those friends was stronger than ever before. As my husband and I traveled home, we reflected on the events of the day and when we prayed at dinner, we thanked God for the gift of friendship among those who had shared faith and family.
I relearned an important lesson this week. Long-term friendships are treasured parts of who we are.
A friend loves at all times . . .
–Proverbs 17:17 (ESV)
10 thoughts on “Hearts Filled with Friendship”
Your words of reflection and wisdom warm my heart. I agree that the older relationships are as precious as treasured gold. Those were the years that the Lord was molding and making us more like Him. You and Ray knew the Good, Bad and the Ugly about your neighbors, the Hardies, yet you loved us anyway and we strengthened one another. We love you guys♥️
Susan, you are right that the Lord molds us to make us more like Him. We are grateful for our frienship with you and Ragan.
What a beautiful example of Christ’s enduring love in marriage and in friendship. We share a similar history and now we share grandchildren, too! God is so good! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Jan. Yes, God fills our lives with blessings.
Since I moved around a bit as a child and teenager–even moving to Brazil for four years–some of my relationships were off and on, geographically. Thanks to the internet and social media like Facebook, it has been easier to reconnect with friends from the past. I’m very thankful!! Thank you for your article, which brings back similar feelings of gratitude and reminds me to treasure the friends and the feelings God allows us to have.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Glenda. You’re right that social media fosters the rekindling of friendships.
What a lovely reminder of what counts and how easily you can let it slid away being “busy” with other things. After our grandchildren head home Im going to get over missing them by thinking through how to reach out to my friends from my past before it is their funeral Im attending- or mine.
You are getting better and better at this, Jeannie. Keep it up!
Thank you for encouraging words, Paula. I appreciate your wise reminder to reach out to friends while we can. That is a wonderful way to share our blessings.
Thank you for writing about this experience. How beautifully put. Thank you and your family for sharing your love with our family. God put us on this journey together for a reason and I’m so grateful He did. We love you Waters!
Leah, it was a wonderful journey for all of us. I’m thankful God provides loving friends.