Diamonds of Life
I ran into a long-time friend at a restaurant last night after not seeing each other for several years. A few minutes into our conversation she mused; “What happened?” She was referring to a past time when a large group of us attended church together, started our families together and shared life together. A happy time when our close circle of friends had felt more like family and we thought things would never change.
The short answer to “what happened?” is quite simple: life. Choices were made (both good and bad), that brought about many changes for all of us. As time marched on, circumstances changed. Many of us had moved away or no longer participated in the activities that had brought us together in the first place. In a bittersweet realization it occurred to me that what had happened to our close-knit circle was something that I have experienced more than once in life.
Reflecting back, I thought about the group of friends that I grew up with in my small hometown. Many of our friendships continued throughout high school, and some persevere to this day. There are experiences that we shared that will forever keep a special bond between us. There are college friends whom I literally lived with for four amazing years who will always hold a special place in my heart.
I recall the many groups of baseball, soccer, and cross-country parents that sat through season after season beside us. We shared recipes and compared decorating tips. We cheered on our kids – celebrating when they won and consoling each other when they lost. We complained about coaching and referee calls. We went crazy when things went our way. We banqueted when each season was over, anticipating the next one that was just around the corner.
There were the parents that we came to know because our children were friends. We carpooled to school activities, volunteered at festivals and chaperoned dances. We hosted overnights and opened our homes to group projects. We snapped pictures together before proms and cried together at graduations. We shared in so many of life’s little gems with our children.
And now here we are.
We are sharing life with our current circle of friends and family; some old and some new. We commiserate as we attempt to parent our adult children, such as it is. We share in the awe of the depth of our love for our grandchildren. We shed a tear or two together as we discuss the changes that have taken place over time. We share joy together as we realize the fruits of the years that are now behind us.
Perhaps rather than reflect on the past with sadness, we should simply remember those relationships and seasons as the gift that they are: the diamonds of life. Those periods of time that are truly priceless. Treasured moments that have helped to mold us into the people that we have become. Experiences that can never be forgotten. Friendships and bonds that can never be completely severed. Maybe rather than asking ourselves, “What happened?” we should simply ask “What’s next?”. The Diamonds of Life.