It happened the other day. I was reminded of the richness of my life because of the treasure trove of long-lasting friendships.
Kim called to tell me about running into a mutual friend.
Bridget called to ask for a small piece of advice.
Karen called to ask for prayer for her mother who had fallen and was hospitalized.
Myra called to ask a detail about our second London trip together. The other was after the first Christmas that she was widowed.
These are all friends who knew me when I had freckles and long, wavy hair. They filled the pews when Daddy and Mama died. And, many, many times over the years that are scattered to the dust behind me, they have called out my name in prayer. I have done likewise for them.
It’s unusual to talk to all of them in a day’s time or even in the same week. But when we talk, the time disappears.
“You know, Ronda, here’s what’s so great about our friendship,” Karen will often say. “We can go a month without talking and then we just pick up where we left off.”
Karen and I went to school together. Then, after college, we were roommates sharing an old two-story duplex with a porch that squeaked noisily.
To her grave, she will carry my secrets. I can count on that.
Back in those days, we were snoopy young girls watching the neighbors who lived in the sweet cottages on that tree-lined street. We were always peeping out the front window and reporting on what we saw. There was a character on a television show, “Bewitched,” that we grew up with. Mrs. Kravitz was always snooping on her neighbors, trying to figure out how Samantha, a lovable witch, was always making things happen magically.
In those early days of our young adulthood, we giggled and called ourselves “Mrs. Kravitz.”
To this day, when one of us has a piece of gossip, we will either text or call and begin with, “Mrs. Kravitz here.” Then we giggle like the joyful-hearted girls we were back then.
When I was 14, Myra sold me the first lipstick I bought with my babysitting money. She worked at a department store and, during college, I spent Christmas working with her behind the cosmetics counter. We stood in high heels — and always dresses or skirts — for seven or eight hours, our legs aching by the end of our shifts.
Bridget worked with us, too. She was the Estee Lauder lady and everyone knew that Estee Lauder always hired the prettiest, most glamorous women. Oh, my. It’s hard to describe how pretty she was or how perfectly dressed in her size three clothes. I don’t even think they make size three clothes any more.
Kim came into my life as a gift of the utmost inspiration. In a cafe in Paris, years ago, she told me how the recession had wiped away everything she had made — investments, rental properties, a beloved mountain home and even a plane.
She was so honest. So transparent. She hid nothing. “It’s all gone. Everything.” Then, calmly but confidently, she said, “But that’s okay. With the Lord’s help, I’ll make it all back.”
And she has. Plus plenty more. It’s a bit like the Biblical story of Job — wiped out but the Lord returned it all plus heaping measures of more.
She is a real estate agent. “Every morning, I get up and tell myself that I am working for God and I have to give the best I have.”
Someone told me years ago that you can judge a person’s character by the length of their friendships.
“A person who is not a good, honorable friend doesn’t keep friends. I always ask people, ‘How long have you been friends with your longest friend?’”
That’s a lot of truth to that wisdom.
And a lot of blessings, too.
Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of several books, including “What Southern Women Know About Faith.” Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com. Her column publishes weekly.