It’s funny how “friend” can have a different definition in different stages of life. Early on, everyone in your class at school was your friend. As you got older, you narrowed your friend list. Friends were the ones you always played with at recess and always wanted to sit by at lunch. Then, as you transitioned to middle school and high school, you had friends that you had something in common with.
In college (at least at Hardin-Simmons where I went), your friends were your neighbors. All the freshman girls were in one dorm. I got to know those who lived right around me and friendships grew from there. Again, friendships formed with people who had something in common. We went to the same church, enjoyed the same activities, or had the same 8:00am class and walked together.
After college, it seemed harder to make friends. My first year in North Carolina, I was teaching full time, in seminary full time, and dating Lee (full time). I didn’t have much time to “hang out” with friends. Then when Lee and I got married we were getting used to life together (both of us teaching full time and in seminary full time). For three years after that, we moved around a few times, had babies, and focused on ministry work. I had a couple friends, but rarely did I have time to spend with them. It’s hard to make close friends in seminary because everyone has plans that take them somewhere else- to churches around the country and to mission fields around the world. Friendships don’t have time to grow and deepen.
And now we’re in a different stage in life. We are in an amazing church where we hope to be for years. We feel settled and permanent. Not only that, we are MILES away from our families. Without family close, you rely more on your friends.
Now that I am able (and willing!) to foster these friendships, it’s much harder than it was before! We don’t go to school together everyday, we don’t live across the hall from one another, we don’t work together! We have to make time to hang out.
So we make time when we can. Girls’ nights, going to the grocery store together, play dates- we’ll take time together whenever we can get it. And even though “friend” means something different than it did when we were young, it’s just as important to have friends now!