Forever friends

Published 8:42 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Some people like to poke fun at “girly girls” and make rude comments about ladies who “do lunch.” I must confess I enjoy my ladies luncheons. There are those of us who like to wake up, make up, dress up and catch up over lunch.

Dressing up makes me feel happy. I enjoy savoring new creations that others have concocted, and many times I try to recreate these recipes at home. The dining experience is important and pleasant, but what happens during lunch keeps me going back for more. The ideas, heartaches and joys shared are priceless. Between bites friendships are forged and problems are solved.

Life sends many acquaintances. Some are friends for a season but fall away when change comes. I, like many widows, have found that many don’t handle death very well. It is easier, I suppose, to let their friendship with a surviving spouse die than deal with the pain of loss of a friend or perhaps their own mortality. I think maybe it is a way of protecting themselves from the not-so-pleasant realization that the terrible and unexpected can happen.

Another aspect of this is the change that takes place in the surviving spouse. I’m different now than I was before losing my soul mate and best friend. Every experience we encounter in this life changes us either in a positive or negative way. I think I have changed for the better, but I am definitely not the same person. I guess change is just hard for people. I can’t judge my old friends. Everyone has to dance their own dance.

But I will tell you that bosom friends are rare. These friends rejoice when good things happen in your life and cry when you cry. They love you when you mess up and help you get back up. They encourage you to run your race with endurance and keep moving toward your finish line.

They are not jealous. They love you enough to be happy over your successes. Every one of us needs people in our lives that will cheer us on when we achieve the success they have been praying for. We need friends we can trust to let us know if we are making a mistake or have lipstick on our teeth.

Perhaps most important of all, we need to be that friend.

Today I lunched with a colleague that I had lost contact with years ago. We bumped into each other and exchanged numbers with intentions of getting together, and today it finally happened. What fun we had catching up with all that had transpired in our lives since our last heart to heart.

We never missed a beat and plan to have another lunch date next week. As we shared our hearts over our meal, it was apparent why we had been drawn to each other all those years ago. The connection was apparent, and the conversation positive and affirming.

How wonderful to reconnect with a forever friend!

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at