Do you send Christmas cards each year?
Christmas is still the largest card-sending holiday in the U.S. The average person who sends them, sends between 50 and 100 cards each year! It comes to a total of 1.6 billion cards being mailed at the holiday season, despite a continuing decrease in other types of mail.
In fact, its that 47% decrease in other types of mail that makes the receiving of a Christmas card seem more special.
If you send Christmas cards, you know that one of the hardest parts of doing it is deciding who you will send cards to. It forces you to categorize the people you know. Are they acquaintances, business friends, casual friends, or good friends?
“Friends” is a term we all use rather loosely. We say, “I have a friend who …” when in reality that person isn’t a friend so much as just someone we know.
Most of the friends we make during our lifetime are friends because of shared circumstances. They live in our neighborhood, their children go to school with our children, they belong to the same club or church or civic organization that we do. They are co-workers, business associates, and people who volunteer for the same causes we do.
As we get older our lives go through many changes and those friendships forged by shared circumstances often fade away when the circumstances change. They get replaced by new friendships created by new circumstances.
The exception to all this friending is the best friend.
Best friends are not like other friendships. The best friend is the person who is always a friend, regardless of how one’s circumstances change. Best friendship goes far beyond shared experiences.
Best friendships have endurance; they last for a lifetime. Best friends are the people who know you as well or better than you know yourself. You share your deepest secrets with them. And better still, they keep your secrets. They know your dreams and never pass judgment on what is important to you.
A best friend will drop everything when you need him or her. You’ll laugh together and cry together. You let them into your heart, into places no one else can enter.
I am lucky to have had a lifelong best friend. But in 2013 cancer took my best friend from me. She was only 63.
We met in 1962 when we were both 11 years old and entering a new school at the same time. We became best friends almost instantly.
We were opposites that attracted. I was the serious side kick to her outrageously fun sense of humor and mischief. She was the adventurous daring spirit that pushed me out of my comfort zone to do new things.
Our friendship grew stronger over the decades even though our paths went in very different directions.
It survived multiple marriages for both of us, career demands, family demands, and life events. At one time we drifted out of touch for nearly 20 years, other than sending birthday and Christmas cards.
In 1993 we finally reconnected in person again and just picked up where we left off. My Yin to her Yang. If you are lucky enough to have a best friend you are truly blessed.
There isn’t a month of the year that I don’t think about things we did together. Those thoughts are pure joy. They are the affirmation of a life well-lived.
There are scandalous memories that would probably shock my son and grandchildren. There are sweet memories and memories of dark moments we survived together. Mostly there are the fun and funny memories that still produce a smile.
Whatever your age, young or old, treasure your best friend. And treasure all those you consider to be good friends. Don’t get too busy to stay in touch. And don’t get so busy you miss an opportunity to nurture a casual friendship into a good one.
There are so many ways to do that today with all the social media choices. Or be old fashioned; use the mail and send cards. Sometimes “thinking of you” are the three nicest words we can say.
What I wouldn’t give for just one more day with my best friend.
December 15th is her birthday. She was six weeks older than me. We were going to grow old together and now I have to grow old without her.
“It’s not that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, it’s your best friends that are your diamonds.”Gina Barecca
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