“You’ll always be my friend… You know too much.”

That was the saying embroidered on the quilt I gave to a close friend of mine for Christmas a number of years ago. This lighthearted sentiment is similar in tone to another phrase that’s often given as the definition of a friend, which is that a friend is someone who knows everything about you – and likes you anyway.

Both these sayings came up as part of a talk I gave last week to a women’s group at my church. The topic for the evening was “Growing in friendship, growing in faith.”

Early in the program, I asked everyone to think of the name of one friend of theirs, someone who might fit the descriptions above. More specifically, the kind of friend you can laugh with or cry with. One with whom you can share your secrets, your fears, your hopes and your dreams.

It took only a few seconds for everyone to come up with the name of one particular friend. We shared the names with each other, and then said a silent prayer for them, whether they were current best friends or long-ago friends with whom we’ve since lost touch. No matter the circumstances, we brought them back into our minds and hearts for just a few minutes that evening.

From the comments I received later, the talk was well-received – which, of course, made me feel good. But even more gratifying was the experience I’ve had since then, something I wasn’t at all expecting.

What happened was that ever since the presentation that night, different friends – from different times and places in my life – have been popping into my mind. Some are friends that I’m still in close contact with, and see or talk to regularly. Others are friends that I haven’t seen or thought about in ages. For some of them, we simply drifted apart. For others, our lives went off in different directions. But at one point in our lives, we were very close. I still think of them fondly when they come to mind, and I was surprised and delighted with how often that’s now happening. And I’m willing to bet that if we were to suddenly connect again, we’d pick up the conversation as if no time at all had passed. That’s how it is with good friends, and I like how it feels.

I’m sure that part of the feeling comes from the fact that I’m going to be moving soon to a different part of the country, and saying goodbye to a number of friends. I know that I’ll make new friends over time, but that doesn’t make it any easier to leave the cherished friends I have here. I’m enjoying the realization that they can always be close to my heart, even if they’re not close at hand.

I hope I’ve been as good a friend to others as they’ve been to me, and I hope that we will, indeed, always be friends. Not because we “know too much” about each other, but because we know everything about each other, and like each other anyway.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on January 26, 2017.
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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