I have been back to Cumbria recently. I was successively Team Vicar and Team Rector there for a while. There were good times and not so good times. To be honest, when I was good, I was very very good, and when I was not…. I was unbearable. I learnt a lot about mainly myself.
What was brilliant about being there was allowing the present to engage with the memories of the past.
The distance between 2009 and now brings a sense of perspective, but friends can help you remember that it was not always as bad as you think, and are a healthy reminder that no matter how difficult something sometimes seems to have been there is usually positive impact.
I am not a person who makes friends easily. I can do acquaintances well, if there is a mutual acceptance that I will try my best to do small talk and that I will usually fail or get distracted in the process.
I have often thought that a good definition of a friend is someone you would die in the trenches for.
I spent time on my visit with two of them. You can go for weeks, months, perhaps years with very little contact… and then you meet up and it is as if you have never parted.. and you are far too gracious to realise that both of you have aged in the time you have been apart.
Friends give life. I need to make more time in the coming months and years to give and receive such life.