We all have old friends that we grew up with, went to school with, and worked alongside. While I was still working the day job, I had friends, but was unable to cultivate many female friendships as I worked in a male-dominated industry. I loved my job, but found that I missed working in an office with people all around that formed my circle of friends as well as coworkers.

Five years ago, Lynn, my oldest friend that I’d known since I was five years old passed away and shortly after that, my good friend and confidante, Fran, passed on. I found my circle getting smaller and smaller. Losing those two helped me to appreciate those that were still here even more.

I’ve found that as much as we stand to lose in life, we also stand to gain. We only have to keep an eye open for those blessings that God brings along to help us through. Facebook has renewed old friendships for me that otherwise, I would have never found. Susan, Judy, Peggy, Tefta, JoAnn, Gail, and many others.

Yesterday, I went to lunch with a handful of girlfriends from high school. Now that the day job was done, I had the option to spend time this wayI almost didn’t go as I thought that I didn’t know them that well (I won’t say how many years have passed since I’ve seen a few of them), but I went anyway. I was so happy that I went as we got to know each other better and laughed at stories that came back to tease us. Laughter is always a wonderful bonding mechanism, if you can make me laugh, I’ll come back for more. I now find myself eager to attend our high school reunion next year (again, I will fail to mention the number of years).

I’ve often quoted the saying, “Iron sharpens iron,” and just today realized that it’s not just a saying, but it comes from Proverbs 27:17. Surrounding ourselves with people that challenge us, encourage us, as well as love us, sharpens us and makes us stronger and better.

People come and go in our lives, some for a lifetime and some for a season. Nowadays, even when it seems as if it’s just for a season, perhaps it’s not. Look for those people in your past that made a difference in you, ones that made you laugh, held you when you cried, and encouraged you when you wanted to throw in the towel. And don’t forget to let them and the ones that have been there always know just how much they mean to you. They could be gone to a place where Facebook can’t make the connection.

Bladensburg High, Class of ’72