About 28 years ago (almost to the month), my parents, baby brother and I, stepped off a Pan Am airplane and into the chilly, unfamiliar terrain of Michigan. I was just a small girl and didn’t really understand the enormity of what my parents had just done; packed up (and sold) their beautiful home in Scotland, to embark on an exciting new missionary journey in America.
They had visas, a bit of money, 13 suitcases and a few loyal friends in the shape of the D family. For the next 5 or so months, while the folks formulated a plan, we lived with them and their blended family in their sprawling home; children, stepchildren plus us 4, green-about-the-ears English folks. I was only young but I still remember it vividly; the giggles, ‘tomato’ versus ‘Tomaydo’, the snow storms, the Christmas tree catching fire, the great American dinners, the great English dinners, snow suits, ice skating….and the sad day we pulled away, on a long drive across America which would eventually take us to the Pacific coast of California.
And people ask me now, how I ended up with a real love of travel…
But I digress, because 28+ years later, the D Family and mine are still ‘thick as thieves’ (as the saying goes in England). The little ones have grown up and there’s now kids, grand kids, great grand kids…but the friendship remains.
3 weeks ago, I boarded a plane with my folks and brought them back to the US – the first time they’d been on a plane since the day we returned to the UK about 24 years ago. The past 3 weeks have been jam-packed with fun, laughs, long meaningful talks, a few kitchen emergencies, family dinners, great coffee….and time, much time to catch up on lifetimes’ worth of news and gossip.
If you google a definition of friendship, you’ll find all sorts, but most principally you’ll find this;
True friends are there through thick and thin.
True friends really aren’t seperated by distance.
True friends can be called at 3am in a crisis – and you know it’ll be ok.
And from the Bible;
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 NIV)
Ain’t that the truth?
I’m thankful for the people in my life who are ‘3am friends’ but specifically today, I’m grateful for the D family, who’ve been there for the past 3 decades.
Thank God for true friends – the kind who are really ‘family’.