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Brenda Fleming Fehr: Celebrating the gifts of friendship

Some friends come and go in our lives.
Friends old and new.

For the longest time, I thought that friendship had to be an all-or-nothing kind of thing. 

I believed that every friend had to be that person you could call up at 3 a.m. if you ever needed to.

But over the years I have learned to appreciate the gifts that come with many different forms of friendship.

I have one friend that I made many years ago while working at my very first retail job after I graduated from high school. I would never call her at 3 a.m., but she is a special friend just the same. 

We have not seen each other in person for several years, but we send each other a Christmas card every year. And each year in our cards we write that we really should get together for coffee, but have not done that yet. I am always excited to see her Christmas card when it arrives in the mail.

I have another friend that I also met at work, but at a more recent job. Neither of us work at that same workplace anymore, but we keep in touch by phone. Every few weeks or so, this friend calls me just to say hello and see how I am doing. I do the same for him. He somehow seems to call just when I have been thinking of him or when my spirits could use a lift. He always has a joke to tell that makes me laugh.

I am definitely not a singer, but the other day I called this friend up to wish him a happy birthday and I sang my usual off-key rendition of Happy Birthday. My friend thanked me for the birthday wishes and complimented me on my nice singing voice - proving what a true friend he really is.

I have another friend that I rarely speak to on the phone, but we communicate regularly by email. We update each other on what we have been up to, and often share stories of what we have been eating and what we are baking or cooking for special occasions.

I am fortunate to have a longtime family friend that I am sure I could call at 3 a.m. if I needed to. This friend encourages me to follow my dreams and loves to talk about books with me. She has comforted me and my family in times of sorrow, and other times has made me laugh until my stomach hurts. 

She has a gift for seeing the bright side of things, and reminds me to appreciate the lessons learned even when something doesn't go my way.

Some friends come and go in our lives, and sometimes, friends surprise us and come back.

I had a friend who shared a birthday close to mine, and for several years we used to go out to a restaurant together to celebrate our birthdays. We lost touch after she moved away to another province, but every year on my birthday, I would think of how I missed this friend and wonder how she was doing. 

This past year, right around my birthday, my friend tracked me down. Turns out, we had both been missing each other. Reconnecting has been a special gift.

I have been gifted, too, with so many lessons from the friendships I have been fortunate enough to make. I have learned how to listen more and talk a little less. I have learned to be more open, more patient and more forgiving, and to be a better friend. I have also learned that friends can help you get through the tough times and share the joy in the good times. And most of all, I have learned that each and every friend, in their own unique way, makes life a little better.