"Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, and the other's gold."
Last night I had the great pleasure of being in the company of some of my golden friends, old friends from college. On polite days, we called ourselves the "Lounge Crowd" when we all went to Bethel College together. On less particular days we were the "Lounge Rats." Our theme song was,
"Brave rebels are we
Born to be free
Like fish in the sea"
We loved each other genuinely and without pretense. We tucked people in for naps on the couch, smoothed back hair when someone was sick, argued philosophy, theology and feminism together, edited each other's papers, gave honest opinions, supported each other in not caving to the COOL crowd. We read Winnie the Pooh stories and took many brief trips out for bagels and coffee when the rest of campus was attending chapel. We did a lot of other silly and attention-grabbing things. One friend chewed on pant legs, and she baaah-ed like a sheep whenever tour groups went by. There were some who climbed on the ledge above the lounge and shot peas down on everyone. We were all different from the mainstream crowd and fairly different from each other, and we were all very, very driven.
We were drawn together either by being post-secondary students or commuters or both. We "lived" in the lounge. During finals week we joked that we should pitch a tent. As it was, there were always one or two of us hanging around while others were in class, and there was always a pile a coats and winter boots and/or books, backpacks, and half-finished projects.
We counseled each other through relationships, caffeine withdrawal, and faith crisis. We were not always right, and we definitely weren't perfect...though I think all of us had some perfectionist tendencies. Looking back we see ourselves more clearly and smile wryly sometimes. We weren't who we are now...people who have experienced lots of growth and change, who have developed a better sense of direction and more defined values. But there's still this thread of genuineness, of honest integrity and appreciation of and for each other.
I hope that I can look back at other points in my life and see that I've developed friendships as solid and beautiful as the old ones. It seems that I have a couple of good friends from each "era" of my life...early childhood, high school, college. It seems that it's gotten harder as I've gotten older. Maybe there's just less time for staying up late or for running off to get coffee and bagels. Maybe I have to be more intentional because life is different. But friends definitely make my life richer. Last night was like being wrapped in a warm, familiar blanket. I'll be smiling about our little reunion for a long time.