Last summer I attended the funeral service for my dear high school friend, Nicole. I am pretty sure Nicole and I spent more nights together on the weekends at each other’s homes than we did apart. Separation through time, distance, and family responsibilities had given our lives separate paths. And now sickness had taken her life.
Memories flooded my mind before her ceremony. As I hugged her sister I thought of all their silly arguments over things like the correct way to make chocolate milk. I saw her dad and remembered Nicole and I crying together when she told me he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I saw her mom and laughed to myself as I thought about the pet iguana she allowed Nicole to have.
Then I looked at her teenage son, who is now the age we were when we were inseparable. He didn’t know me, but his features favored his mom so much that it made it hard for me to walk away from him after I introduced myself.
I felt regret. Regret that I did not stay in touch better, that I didn’t know her son, and that I had not shared life with her in recent years.
But as I sat through her service, my regret was replaced with gratitude. God showed me how blessed I was to have had Nicole as a friend. I was thankful I was allowed to know her and to have been a part of her life. I was thankful that she took the time to be a friend to me during the time when the insecurities of my teenage mind made me unsure of myself. I was thankful for every late-night talk and beach trip we shared. I was thankful for every cherry lemon Sun Drop we drank together as we walked through the mall.
Typically, high school and college is a time when we make friendships a big priority. We work hard to make intimate friends and spend large amounts of time with them.
God used Nicole’s service to remind me of the importance and gift of friendship and that I should be grateful for and appreciate the life of each friend God places in my life.
While I know my friendships cannot look quite the same as those of my high school years, I still need to take the time to make intimate friendships, to have and enjoy God’s gift of friendship as I walk through life.
We need the unconditional love, accountability, and support given through true friendship. And we all need to take the time to be that friend who will love at all times.
A friend loves at all times…
• Proverbs 17:17a •
Cover photo of Nicole Greene Kennedy • August 31, 1976 – July 7, 2017