I used to have a good friend named Carmen, and I loved her so. When I was in the Air Force, we spent nearly every day together for the span of a year and a half (or more). But the time came for her to move on, and we decided to keep in touch via journals. We bought identical books, and were to fill them and mail them to each other monthly. And we did well for quite some time. But eventually, as time and space grew too deep and wide, the journals stopped. Our paths moved in different directions not to intersect again, and today, I don’t know where she is. It was while I was stationed in Korea that I received her journal, and inside the cover she had written:
Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
I was delighted, and shared the poem with my new friend, Cheyenne. She laughed because I wasn’t familiar with the lines, as she knew them well. I believe she said she sang the tune in girl scouts. As with Carmen, Cheyenne and I became tight. I loved her, too. She was my roommate in Korea, and we shared everything. And when the time came to move on, as with Carmen, we stayed in touch for a while. She even made it to my wedding, and I visited her once down south. But alas, the ever widening time and space eventually divided us, and today, I don’t know where she is.
Early in marriage, I made two more friendships that were dear to me. One, my sister-in-law. We had so much in common and connected almost at first. I’m sure you know what I mean… when you meet someone and know immediately that you’re going to be the best of friends. It was my first weekend with her that we had to share a bed, but we stayed up till the early hours sharing story after story. That was seventeen years ago. The other friendship was with my cousin. Although we grew up playing together, it was after the Air Force that we became like sisters. She was another that I shared everything with, staying up till the wee hours of the morning swapping story after story. She was another that I immediately connected with. And those connections were priceless to me… even golden.
And so today, I find myself sorrowful. Because time and space is ever widening. Phone calls that used to occur multiple times a week have dwindled to once or twice a month, if that. And I feel like a piece of me is gone. Because they’re gone. See, I love these women, and yet for some reason, I am separated from them. There’s silence. And it’s no one’s fault… there are schedules, and events, and sicknesses, and before you know it, distance has inserted a wedge into something that was priceless and golden… something you thought you’d never lose. But I feel as if I’ve lost my priceless friends. And I miss them. I feel alone.
In the Bible, we read of a friendship. It was one of those golden relationships that neither time nor space could sever. And it was King David who had a such a golden friend… his name was Jonathan. The only problem was that Jonathan happened to be King Saul’s son. And enmity had grown between Saul and David, because David was to be the next king. Saul lost God’s favor, but David gained it. Because of that, Saul grew to resent David… so bitter was Saul that he even tried to kill David. But that was not so with his son, Jonathan. Quite the opposite took place. The King James version states it like this:
Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1
Another version of the Bible says that Jonathan committed himself to David. And that’s just what a good friendship is… it’s a commitment. A good friend will fiercely protect you and stand up for you when someone says the wrong thing. She will even place her life in danger for your sake. A good friend is your shelter and hiding place – she’s who you can turn to when you’re feeling blue. She’s the one whose doorstep is most welcoming, whose couch is most comforting, and whose hug is most warming. Her cup of refreshment never empties. And it’s that type of friendship that David and Jonathan shared. Oh, how David grieved for him when he died:
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother. You were such a friend to me. Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of a woman (for me). 2 Samuel 1:27
Today, I feel sad. Because it’s here in the sounds of silence that I miss those who were so dear to me. It’s here alone that I wish I had my dear friends close. And so it’s here that I lamented to God, and told Him how I felt. I told Him that I’m lonely and that I need a friend. Because those golden treasures are hard to come by today. See, when you move back home as an older woman, the patterns of life have already been set. And they were set without you in them. Peoples’ lives are already in order, and thus, it’s hard to insert oneself into a life that already has a steady flow… And it’s so hard to meet another. Because, although new friends are good… it’s the old ones who are golden.
God has an answer for this. See, when it comes to old friends, He is my oldest. He is the most faithful and the most loyal. Because He knew me before time began. He is the One who knit my soul within the womb of my mother, and so He knows me best. And it’s to His doorstep I can run when I’m feeling blue. Because He will always be available… He is the One who will never leave me nor forsake me. And His cup of refreshment will never run dry. He tells me so through His word:
Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the skies! LORD, You preserve me and it’s Your faithful love that is so valuable. It’s in the shadow of Your wings that I can take my refuge. I can be filled from the abundance of Your house and drink from Your refreshing stream… You are the One who leaves the light on for me. (Taken from Psalm 36)
It’s true, I may be lonely today. And it’s true I may be separated from old friends by space and time and schedules. And if I want to be honest, I may even be wallowing in the sounds of silence. But the truth is, I have the best of friends. His name is God, and He is my Maker. And as far as relationships go, why, this one is golden.