I was talking to my dearest friend just moments ago and I mentioned the trampoline my dad got my brother and I when we were kids, momentarily forgetting that said best friend would remember the thing. She responded with, "I have fond memories on that trampoline. Remember when we used to lay on it on fall afternoons after school? I wore that old Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirt... Why did I wear that?!"
Many old friends from the town I spent my middle and high school years in would not consider us having "grown up together" because (small town that it was), most of them actually crawled around the same living rooms together as wee babes.
If I am honest, though, I cannot deny that I shared a piece of childhood with them. Friends from school and friends from summer camp. There is something really priceless about simply having known someone since one's teen years or even early twenties.
I think this is because who we were was still forming then. We weren't really walking around with these big opinions and passions and cultures we have taken in that begin to define us to newcomers in our lives.
Some of these old friends from my more tender years are people so different than I, it seems unlikely a connection would be made if I met them for the first time in some other context today.
The precious thing is that it doesn't matter. We don't have to see eye to eye and connect in ways that we would each probably subconsciously require from a newcomer to invest time and energy into that person. We have history. And it connects us.
We don't have to be endeared to each other for any other reason. The foundation is already there. We are a piece of each other's childhood, and there isn't a thing in the world that can change that.
And sometimes... just sometimes, the fact that we are already all endeared to each other gives way to a chance for ideas and opposing views to be exchanged in a way that is kind and acceptable. As iron sharpens iron? We have a chance to grow.
And if we don't change our minds, if we choose to stick with our original viewpoint in it's entirety, it's okay. It's just old so and so being old so and so.
My brother once said to me, "Isn't that what it is to love and accept someone in friendship? They have idiosyncrasies and you just accept it and love them regardless. You just say 'Oh that's just Adam being Adam.' and you roll your eyes and grin to yourself as you say it because even that annoying thing is something that you secretly find amusing. Because it's your friend."
I missed a call from an old friend a month or two ago. He is oh so different than I. We live in different worlds in a way, I think.
But in his message he referred to me with a term of endearment... an old nickname from high school and I hugged the phone. He lives in his world and I in mine, but we can visit the old one, where we used to live, whenever we please.
It is such a sweet kind of connection. So simple and unassuming.
In this vein of thought, I am a little overwhelmed to realize that God has a longer and deeper history with each of us than even our oldest and dearest friends.