Picking up where you left off.

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Friendships are important. Friends keep us from feeling alone in the big, wide world. So I’ve decided to dedicate several posts to the theme of friendship. Because I’m a writer who loves to read, my thoughts about friendship are also wrapped up in books!

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I’m talking about those special friendships you’ve made over the years, that person or people that you once saw daily or relied on heavily, that you grew with or that shared all the ups and downs of life with you. Maybe now, because of distance and/or the busy-ness of life, you no longer have the opportunity to see each other as often. These are the people, the person, that when you get together, you seem to pick up right where you left off, as if you’ve never been apart.

webbThese friendships remind me of books, old favorites like Charlotte’s Web, To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Lord of the Rings. You’ve read the whole book from beginning to end, several times over, but you can still pick it up and find something new. Or you read it for a while and remember why you love it so much. It’s comfortable. It’s special. It has meaning. It’s a part of you.

A person doesn’t “get” every person nor does one “connect” with every person.

I’ve read books that are very deep, or laden with clues and details that seem relevant, or that have so many characters it’s hard to keep them straight. I sometimes find myself rereading sections or flipping back to earlier chapters. And when I pick the book up a day or two later, guaranteed, I need to reread a bit to get back into it.

Then you stumble upon those books that are easy to follow, that have unique or relatable characters, and that pull you right into the story no matter how many days have passed since you last read from it.

blindsideI’m reading a book like that now: The Perfect Blindside, a Christian teen fiction by Leslea Wahl. While I can’t relate to Jake, “an Olympic snowboarder whose fame has gone to his head,” I can relate to Sophie, the only girl in town who doesn’t throw herself at his feet. The voices of both point-of-view characters are so well done that I got into the characters and their story lines at once. Each chapter ends leaving me dying to know what happens next. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to read these past few days. However, whenever I pick up the book, it’s like I never left the story.

And isn’t it like that with some friendships you have? In my young adult years, when I still had a weak grasp on who I was and what I wanted out of life, I met my soon-to-be best friend. We worked at the same food packaging plant, doing monotonous jobs in a less-than-pleasant environment. A few years older than me, a Southern Baptist to my Catholic, married and with two children to my single and carefree, we didn’t seem to have a lot in common.

I can still remember one day when we stood across from each other at the assembly line conveyor belt. Bored out of my mind, I tried to put some variety into my routine, and I ended up shutting the line down. Rather than grumble like everyone else on the line, my soon-to-be friend laughed with me and tried to help me recover from my “mistake.” At that moment I recognized a kindred spirit, and a friendship was born.

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Over the years, we’ve seen each other at our best and at our worst. She’s challenged my beliefs and eventually challenged me to look at how I lived my faith. We’ve argued and fought and we’ve grown. We’ve shared many awesome experiences, and we’ve been there for each other in the hard times. She now lives in Arizona so we don’t see each other often. But whenever we connect, it’s like picking up a favorite book. I know her. I love her. And I know she knows and loves me. A bond has formed between us that will last forever. Better than a favorite book!

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