Make new friends (but keep the old).

I was in Girl Scouts for several years growing up. Being the caramel-skinned, curly-haired, chubby-cheeked, bespectacled nerd with braces that I was, I barely tolerated all the activities except summer horse camps and the songs. I couldn’t tell you the name of a single girl in any of my troops, but I can still remember those horses’ names and the songs. We used to sing this one in a round:

“Make new friends

But keep the old

One is silver

And the other’s gold.”

Simple? Yes.

Profound? Twenty or so years later, yes.

I started humming this song while I was cleaning up the various trappings around my office from the past year. It is a habit of mine to cherish cards and letters for a year and then to let them go to make room for new words and new thoughts. Last year was something of an emotional bloodletting for me in the new friend department. It was hard. It was hurtful.

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But the old friends saw me through. Like G, who has sent me fresh flowers on my birthday for years. Without expectation, reservation, or hesitation. She knows my favorite gift in the world and she obliges.

Or take R, for instance. We go way back, back before I knew myself and my God. We’ve sang a lot of songs together and taken a lot of walks and laughed and cried in equal measure. Among the things I took down today were one of her beard compilations (and a bare-chested Mike Rowe) designed to make my soul chuckle with glee.

Then there’s K, who used to be one of my students a long time ago and has turned out to be one of my dearest friends in the world. She likes snail mail like me and even though she is tearing it up in Nashville, she still takes the time to encourage me in my wellness journey like no one else.

And from M and S and T, I have numerous cards and letters letting me in on their lives and giving me truthful words and honest perspectives and love sprinkled throughout the year.

Among them were various gratefulness notes I had written to myself about the sparse, but cherished, moments I had had last year with the people I love. From my love-packed summer trip to my alma mater to an unexpected but welcome evening with two of the best gentlemen I know, I had written just enough to smile again over the memories and be thankful for those bits of shared life.

For the tribe I have cultivated, I am grateful. For the longevity of the intertwined journeys wound so lovingly through the tapestry of my life by the grace of God, I am even more so. Solid gold.

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