A few thoughts about friendship and what it take to maintain it

I have one brother and one sister. Both are substantially older than I am (by 13 and 8 years). Needless to say, relationships with my two siblings have been difficult, if not impossible, to maintain over the years. I was and remain the “little brother”.

Years have gone by with minimal or no communication. For a season just before and after our mom passed away we did function as a family, but soon thereafter things returned to their previous state. It does not bother me to have such a relationship with my brother and sister for that is all I have ever known.

Relationships of any kind take work to build and maintain, especially in our busy world. We all must decide which relationships mean the most to us and invest the time and effort to keep them strong. Siblings drift apart because there is no desire to stay in touch. Couples drift apart because they wake up one day and realize they haven’t really communicated for years. Friends fall away because of distance, children and other responsibilities.

Last month when I was sending out Christmas cards, I was somewhat dismayed to find only a very few people I had any desire to send a card to. There were perhaps 15 people who received a card and about 5 of them returned the favor.

Do we really need 500 “friends” on some social networking site to be happy? Do we really need 100 “friends” to show up for a special birthday to feel “special”? I hope we don’t for I have neither. I think I got 4 birthday cards and one present for my 60th birthday recently. When I look through my e-mails 95% of them come from one person.

There are many people locally we socialize with, break bread together with and consider “friends”. But, none of them are really any more than close acquaintances. Is this bad? I do not think so. I believe that in this lifetime, we should be extremely thankful to have one or two true friends who are closer to us than a brother or a sister. Any person who honestly has even one true friend should consider himself the most fortunate person on earth.

In no ways am I complaining about my lot. I am deeply thankful for many of you who I consider a genuine “friend” even though we have not and probably never will meet in this life. I DO HAVE two people I consider true friends and for that I thank God daily. But, I know that to maintain the depth of friendship, time must be allotted and energy expended to communicate, share, give, listen and bless each other.

Some of the happiest people I have ever met were couples who only had each other in this life. Many of these couples were married 50, 60 or 70 years. Since one of my true friends is my wife, I am deeply thankful and full of great joy!


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