The country primary school I attended had three teachers. One teacher taught years 1&2 another taught years 3,4 & 5 and years 6&7 were taught by the headmaster. It was a small school and cosy. It was easy to know everyone in the school and most of the parents knew each other and they knew you. Still we had our friendship groups and I was friends with three other girls. When it came time to move onto secondary school we all had to go by bus to the nearest city; two of those girls went to the Girls Grammar School and the other to the Range Convent, only I went to the State High School.
I arrived in year 8 at a the biggest school in the town and was put into a class of about 30 others where I knew no-one; it was quite daunting for this little country kid. Most other students had come from much larger schools in the town and so this was not such a big deal for them as they already knew at least someone. As we settled in friendships groups began to form and after a few trial and errors my friendship with one very beautiful person began to flourish.
Friendships work when there is a mixture of differences and similarities. There needs to be enough similarities for there to be a meeting of minds on some issues but enough differences for each person to be an individual and have respect, even admiration, for the talents and qualities of the other. When people are too similar they can be tempted into thinking friendship is a competition. P#1 and I have never had this problem as we have lead different paths in life, never lived in each other’s pockets and never needed the other to be something other than who they are. We have that type of friendship where we may not see each other or even talk for months but when we do connect we just pick up where we left off as we have such a rich history to draw on.
For every significant event in our lives the other has been there usually in person but if that was not possible, in heart. We have been friends for over 50 years now and I am certain my life is much richer for our friendship. While P#1 may not have actually changed or shaped the course of my life, I am abundantly blessed to have someone who has known me for so long, understands my family and background, has loved me through my heartaches and rejoiced with me in my victories and it is my privilege to have shared her journey also.
Many, many people come and go in life, many friendships are for a season and they fill a role and purpose, many people are acquaintances or work colleagues and it is always wonderful to catch up with folks from the past but it is easy to lose touch and wonder what ever happened to so and so. Along the way both P#1 and I have seen other people much more frequently than we have seen each other but P#1 and I have an enduring friendship and if God grants us the days, I see us as old ladies still catching up, picking up from where we left off last time and both of us always ever so thankful that we ended up in that same year 8 class.