# 41 – The Comfort of Old Friends

Sue, Sam and friend Carol

Recently an old friend from college days (Carol) drove six hours to spend two days with Sam and me and another old friend (Kathy) who lives here in Kitchener.  I appreciated this very much.

It set me to thinking about the special kind of comfort old friends can be and often are. They have seen me over many years – as far back as my early adulthood or even, perhaps, my childhood.

There’s something special about being known over time. Old friends have had some of the same formative experiences I’ve had. If I dare to ask, they can tell me whether a direction I’m pondering fits with the Sue they’ve known for 30 or 50 years.  They’ve seen my patterns of decision making and have a sense of the core essence of Sue and the way I’ve expressed that essence over time.   When facing a difficult situation, I can ask, “Is the way I’m approaching this consistent with the Sue you’ve known?”

Brother Jim and Sue

Plus, if they’re older than me, they have information which few others can offer. I remember asking my big brother Jim shortly before he died, “What type of apples did the two trees in our backyard produce before Hurricane Hazel took them out in 1954?”  And he knew! “The Smokehouse were for baking,” he answered promptly, “and the Red Delicious for eating.”   Almost five years after his death, I still miss the way his knowledge extended my sense of our family and the Souderton community back by an additional 20 years.  He was a dear old friend….

Headwaters of the Susquehanna River, flowing out of Lake Otsego, at Cooperstown, New York

My association with Carol, who visited me last weekend, started in the student publications offices at Goshen College, a very formative place for me. Since Carol and her spouse Katie reside in Upstate New York,  Sam and I have been able to visit there repeatedly to share in the beauty of their area, celebrate weddings, and compare our lives out of similar worldviews.

For me, there’s a comfort level in being with old friends that I rarely find elsewhere. Perhaps that’s why I’ve stayed part of some groups for a long time, such as the “Group of 5” who go out for lunch together most months.

With old friends, it’s sometimes possible to pick up the phone, initiate a call, and continue a conversation where we left off four years ago! And if both parties are committed to doing so, it’s possible to deepen the relationship over time.

Quilts-GaloreAnd it’s great to just plain enjoy each other’s company…remembering old times and exploring our common interests now. Last weekend Carol, Kathy and I spent more than an hour in a quilt shop on an Old Order Amish farm, enjoying Eileen Jantzi’s quilts and “helping” one of us choose fabrics for the quilt she commissioned.

While new friends stretch me and often signal new interests, old friends quietly witness my continuity…who I have been and who I am becoming. In this my spirit is nourished….

Question for Reflection:

In what ways – if at all – do old friends have a special place in your life?  How do they nourish your spirit?

Next week: Nourishing Hospitality

6 thoughts on “# 41 – The Comfort of Old Friends

  1. Thanks for your prod to be in touch with a few old friends from the past…

    Muriel Bechtel
    515 Langs Dr., Unit J,
    Cambridge, ON
    N3H 5E4
    Home telephone: 519-219-3344
    Cellphone: 226-338-6915

    Every sunrise brings the promise of a new beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Sue for a reminder to cherish earlier friendships established. My experience lately has held connections from way back. What a treasure to reconnect after many years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have several dear friends from ealt times in my life. Caroline has been my friend for over 50 years. We are in constant touch even noe. We went to college together. knew each others parents well.and stayed in each others parental homes. Then there is are David and Anne.Again even been keen friends for almost 40 years. I am Aunt Heather to their 4 boys, who are now in their 20s and even early 30s., who still out of love call me aunt Heather. I can share my heart and my deepest hopes and fears with Caroline, David or Anne. They are my bedrock. They are totally trustworthy. They know my values and where I come emotionally, spiritually and in terms of my and my family. They are totally irreplaceable.
    Heather Whitehouse

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Sue I so enjoy reading your blogs. After I read #43 today, I remembered that I wanted to respond to you re: #41 where you and two old friends visited an Old Order quilt shop near Millbank. Well, that is the farm where I grew up with 9 siblings and lived there until Ralph and I were married and moved to Virginia. The quilt shop of course was not there then but I have been there at least three times with my friends. Eileen and Sol opened their home at one time for anyone to visit an Old Order home. Connie, Cindy and Isaac and I went for “old times sake”. Even though the upstairs was not part of the tour, I asked to go up to see the room 3 of my sisters shared. It brought back many memories! We were fortunate to have a room with a stove pipe coming from the stove in the living room which provided some heat in the house without a furnace. They now heat the house with an outdoor wood fired furnace that heats the house via hot water. The houses along the road to Millbank also were not there then. But the Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church is built on the corner of our farm – my Dad gave them the land – but only two of my sisters left Riverdale when the split happened. Part of the original group that left with Valentine Nafziger is again the owner of the building and worships where they started. So,so sad!

    Think of you often and pray for God’s presence and love to surround you and Sam. Eileen


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