My son Josh had a great time visiting his best buddy Sam in San Antonio. Sam’s family left California to move there over two years ago. This visit was one of our Christmas gifts to Josh, and it was a good one. When they got together upon our arrival, it was like they’ve never been apart. In fact, thanks to the internet, they really haven’t left each other at all.
When I was young, a friend’s move out of the area pretty much meant the end of that friendship. They might write letters for a while, but sooner or later they would eventually become just another Someone I Used to Know. Because my family moved so often when I was young, there were countless such former friends.
When I left Japan in third grade to move to the States, my best friend Yukako and I swore that we would keep in touch everyday, and for a while we did. I would send a handwritten letter to her in an envelope adorned with colorful stickers then spend the next few weeks eagerly checking the mail box for a reply letter from her. I guess international mail took too long for young girls with short attention spans, and soon we drifted apart. The only reason why we eventually got back in touch was because her parents continued to live in the same house all these years (and still do), and I was able to track her down during my year as an exchange student at a university in Tokyo. Today, I keep in touch with Yukako more regularly than ever via email.
My daughter Meg, on the other hand, has a friend who recently moved to Austria with his family. Thanks to social media such as Instagram and YouTube, Meg and her friends have become even better friends with him in the past year. He’s currently in the States for a visit during the Holidays, and the whole gang is back together creating more fun videos for YouTube.
I often find Josh playing online games in his room with Sam. Of course, Sam is in Texas and Josh in California. They have each other on FaceTime as they battle it out on their laptops. “Hi there!” Sam says to me as I walk by. “Oh hi, Sam. How’s it going?” I can see even through the small screen that Sam has grown taller, just like Josh.
These two boys have been best friends practically since birth. They were playmates in the church nursery when they were both in diapers, and they were inseparable during Sunday School and VBS each year. They would have sleepovers and would always get along. Josh was brokenhearted to hear that Sam was moving away.
That’s why it warmed my heart to see them pick up right where they left off as soon as we saw them upon our arrival at our hotel for the weekend. We went out to dinner with Sam’s entire family whom, of course, I also really enjoy. He came over to our hotel the next day, then Josh went over to his house for the rest of the trip while I worked.
Do you know what the boys did almost the entire time they were together in the same room? You guessed it — they played games on the computer, sitting side by side. The same online games! The only difference was that they were not FaceTime-ing each other half way across the United States but were sitting next to each other.
Oh well — there’s still nothing like really being there. And there’s nothing like a great friendship that lasts through time and distance. I’m so glad for both Josh and Sam that they have each other as they navigate through life.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
- Proverbs 18:24
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Do you or your kids have friendships that last through the ages? How do you stay in touch?