I have one brother and one sister. Both are substantially older than I am (by 13 and 8 years). Needless to say, relationships with my two siblings have been difficult, if not impossible, to maintain over the years. I was and remain the “little brother”.
Years have gone by with minimal or no communication. For a season just before and after our mom passed away we did function as a family, but soon thereafter things returned to their previous state. It does not bother me to have such a relationship with my brother and sister for that is all I have ever known.
Relationships of any kind take work to build and maintain, especially in our busy world. We all must decide which relationships mean the most to us and invest the time and effort to keep them strong. Siblings drift apart because there is no desire to stay in touch. Couples drift apart because they wake up one day and realize they haven’t really communicated for years. Friends fall away because of distance, children and other responsibilities.
Last month when I was sending out Christmas cards, I was somewhat dismayed to find only a very few people I had any desire to send a card to. There were perhaps 15 people who received a card and about 5 of them returned the favor.
Do we really need 500 “friends” on some social networking site to be happy? Do we really need 100 “friends” to show up for a special birthday to feel “special”? I hope we don’t for I have neither. I think I got 4 birthday cards and one present for my 60th birthday recently. When I look through my e-mails 95% of them come from one person.
There are many people locally we socialize with, break bread together with and consider “friends”. But, none of them are really any more than close acquaintances. Is this bad? I do not think so. I believe that in this lifetime, we should be extremely thankful to have one or two true friends who are closer to us than a brother or a sister. Any person who honestly has even one true friend should consider himself the most fortunate person on earth.
In no ways am I complaining about my lot. I am deeply thankful for many of you who I consider a genuine “friend” even though we have not and probably never will meet in this life. I DO HAVE two people I consider true friends and for that I thank God daily. But, I know that to maintain the depth of friendship, time must be allotted and energy expended to communicate, share, give, listen and bless each other.
Some of the happiest people I have ever met were couples who only had each other in this life. Many of these couples were married 50, 60 or 70 years. Since one of my true friends is my wife, I am deeply thankful and full of great joy!
In my school days, I was loaded with friends. As adulthood marched forward, they quickly numbered less and less. I too have a similar situation with my brother and a half sister. I too have 1 or 2 good frinds - one since my teen years - one from retirement years. - bibleguy
There are acquaintances, there are "friends" and then if you are fortunate, there are friends who are well, I guess you could refer to them as "Jonathan friends". Those friendships require an investment of time and energy and of course... they must be mutual.
It would be impossible to have this sort of friendship with every single acquaintance or even every single "friend". I believe it simply cannot be done. Not in this world at least. You physically cannot expend the required time and energy on that many people. Now at various times you may have "friends" who step up and help you through things and you do the same for them but this is different. These are friendships which withstand the test of years. They go through the good times and the bad times. You could call on these people any time of day or night and know that they are standing beside you... even if they are half a world away.
You may not always see eye to eye on everything but you never forget that you are friends and that you are blessed to do life together with them, especially if both of you are doing life together with God! Even when they correct you, there is an understanding that they do not do so because they wish to tear you down or trample you into the ground. Indeed, it hurts them a great deal to have to do so but they love you too much to not say anything.
God has blessed me with a couple of friends like that. Though the closest ones live a great distance from me, it doesn't matter. We are friends who treasure and guard our friendship and recognize that it is a gift from God.
I have two younger sisters one 12ys and one 20yrs younger than me and a brother 8yrs younger than me. Those relationships were never quite the same as the ones with my brother that was 11months younger than me. I guess age difference do make a difference.
Children grow up and go their own ways in their own worlds , thus sibling relationships change as do parent child relationships.
I've had friends come and go and have not felt bad about that because the time spent with them was worth it and the memories are sweet.
It would seem some things are just for a season and some are long term. God knows which we need when.
I totally agree it takes work to maintain a relationship of any kind whether it be siblings, friends or a marriage.
I've had some really good friends over the years...and with time/distance these relationships have fallen away...it used to hurt me so much because I felt "unloved" that they didn't find me worth the effort or that there was lack of interest...then one day I asked myself "am I interested in investing the time and effort to PURSUE them and put in the extra time MYSELF to keep something going that they are not interested in upkeeping?" and the answer was no. I agree it must be mutual. I agree that we can't kick ourselves for close friendships "lost" because those friendships may have just been for a time, a season, and even a location. People move on...and as we fork down different paths it is natural to leave these relationships behind. We have "friendlies" now...the friendly acquaintances that are happy to help in a pinch or ask how you are doing at church...might even chat if YOU call them...but nothing tighter. I miss that. Thankfully I do have my siblings which helps. Once I blogged about a killed friendship...one of those "once in a lifetime" friendships that I felt safe and comfortable and liked in...the kind I could cry to... we would even call each other and watch cooking competitions together on tv and talk about the contestants, dishes cooked, etc. This friend cut me to the core and it was such a betrayal I never recovered. When I get sad thinking about it I again ask myself...do I want to be friends with someone who is like that? who would do that? and the answer is no...so it helps in the "letting go" of it all. I don't know if we will ever find "best buds" at our age because it takes time...but cherish what you do HAVE...be thankful for what you do HAVE...and like you said, focus on quality and not quantitiy. I'd rather have one TRUE friend than a 100 Christmas cards from casuals.