Recently I was talking to a young friend of mine who had just graduated from college. She was already feeling guilty about not keeping up with the girls that she vowed to be lifelong friends with. Several had gotten married and she had moved to a new country. Not only had distance separated them, but circumstances had given them less in common. My friend felt guilty about NOT FEELING MORE GUILTY about letting the friendship drift away. So she called one of her girlfriends after a few months. They agreed that they still valued and admired each other, but it was alright to let their paths curve away from each other.
Earlier this week I ran into an old friend of mine from my early high school days. He was a missionary kid and we met when his family came to a missions convention at my church. We joked about how we go for years without seeing each other and within 2 minutes it feels like we’ve just picked up right where we left off. He said, “It’s just the missionary life. We are always saying good-bye so it’s no big deal.” He said it always amused him when other friends would apologize for not keeping in touch. It doesn’t bother him one bit.
I’ve concluded that it’s OK to accept that you’ve drifted apart from old friends. That’s just life. It’s no one’s fault and it doesn’t mean you love your friends any less. It’s OK to celebrate what once was and then to focus on the present. Friendships are often there to meet a particular need for a particular season of life, but it doesn’t make the friendship any less precious. Perhaps the mark of a good friendship is if you can pick up right where you left off like 20 years has not passed.