When you are a kid, you just took your friends for granted. They were there, next door, when you wanted to play. They were there when you went to school. They were there at Scouts, or the rock band that you were a part of or whatever you were into. They were just there. When you start having a family your friends are the people that are also having a family. They are your work colleagues or the people at church. They are your extended family and their extended families. There is really not much to think about. Some people are more in sync with your interests, so you stick together. Our interests were our kids and missionary activity. The first gave us lots of friends. The other interest was a pretty select bunch, although they are the ones over time that we still stay connected to.
As you age your friends take on an entirely different dimension; they become considerably more important. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I am sure that it is. Whereas in the past I would consider my freedom to speak out on a topic to be paramount, now I would carefully consider the possibility of offending a friend to be paramount. In the past I would consider what I wanted to do in a particular situation most important, now I would consider what a friend wanted to do to be most important.
Perhaps in my case I am just slow in realizing the reality that we are social creatures, and that friends are an important part of our emotional stability, but I am very grateful for my friends, especially on birthdays. I had a birthday this week, and I had lots of greetings from friends. One friend insisted that we meet in our local coffee shop and then go to our local curry house for supper. I appreciate the kindness, and am grateful for friends that just want to spend a few minutes in my company to cheer me up along the path of life. Thanks as well to my Facebook family and the greetings and encouragement there.