Friends come and friends go, like beautiful threads in the weaving of a life. One golden strand may appear and reappear, here and there, throughout the cloth, others will fill in an odd bit of color and then appear no more. Sometimes this will happen with a whole group of different yarns—there together in a cluster for a while, then gone.
Friendship weaves an irregular tapestry in this era of transience and fragmentation. If we all lived only in the same village in which we were born, and traveled no further than twenty or thirty miles from there all our lives (and had no internet!), what a different picture our friendships would make: perhaps an even weave, a regular, steady, and reliable plaid. But then, probably not, for where that kind of lifestyle occurred, death also occurred more frequently, at earlier ages, and the plaid could go quite out of symmetry anyway.
Yet when I saw this weeks’s prompt word, “Friend,” the first two things that actually popped into my head were a Bible verse and a line from a song: “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” and “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” It might sound cliché, but I have found it true. Ever since I found this extraordinary friendship over four decades ago, it has never let me down, never abandoned me or died or evaporated. This Friend has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and made good on the promise.
I read a few years ago of roadsides staked with billboards declaring, “God is an imaginary friend.”* (My emphasis.)
“Whoah!” I thought, “Whoever you are making this statement, you haven’t known what I’ve known! You haven’t experienced what I have! No imaginary friend could do what Christ has done throughout my life! It’s been incredible!”
And at some point shortly thereafter, I thought, “I could write a whole book, with a title something like, How I Know God is Not an Imaginary Friend.” In fact, I think I still might…
(Went a little overtime here, but wanted to finish that thought.)
*Footnote: This happened in Colorado in late January, 2012. I guess these signs were only up for a couple months. Then was when the terribly dry weather came and the worst wildfires on record for the state followed. The ones that spread to near the billboards’ locations were caused by… lightning strikes. Articles reporting on the signs going up said they were there to spark a debate. Hm, something sparked something, seems like.
**Photos above show rugs handwoven by Tom Knisely, author and weaving instructor, taken at a presentation on rug weaving. Rugs shown may or may not be included in the book on rug weaving he published shortly thereafter.