Friday, January 14, 2011

Endings and the trouble with time

Today I farewelled an old acquaintance.  She was a member of our sister church and the parent of a 'girl' I went to school with, many a year ago.  It was not an overly sad funeral as she was 81 and a committed Christian so most were of the opinion that she had lived a good life and would now be rewarded for that life.  It is however always tough to say goodbye.
Along with many of her friends and fellow worshippers and members of the many groups she had been involved with, were a handful of my peers, not real school friends but certainly from my class at high school. During the service a letter was read from her lifelong friend who was unable to attend but with whom she had shared a friendship of over 60 yrs and they remained as close, up until her death, as they had in their teen years.
It got me a thinking.....
Over the years I have had many periods of friendship with different people.  Some due to similar interests, children, craft, work, church congregations that we have been part of and a few, a mere sprinkling of friends from childhood.  As we grow older that list gets bigger but in reality there are only a few that I have kept in touch with over the years.  Is this a failing on my part or a natural turn of events.  These days I don't even send out Christmas cards as I used to, with that yearly missive listing the events and achievements of the year.  There are some people with whom I had very close contact that I don't even know their current whereabouts....sadly.
I must admit that Facebook, with all its down sides, has allowed some reconnection with a few but not many of my generation are as computer dependent (addicted) as we in this house are.  But even there I find I am not nurturing these past friendships as not just the physical distance but the changes in our lives has changed the connection and those shared interests that gave a link to build the friendship on may not be there now.
I can think of two right now who are on my 'friend' list but with whom I have not shared more than a few platitudes over the last 12 months.
I wonder if the friendships we form in our latter years can be as intense as the ones we formed when young and will any of the ones we form today last more than a few years.
In some ways I still feel as close to some of those 'old' friends as I was when we shared daily lives but it is kind of attached to the time we were living it rather than reality and the fact that many, many years have passed and those things like children playing after school, and play groups, are far from being a part of our current lives and perhaps we have no shared experiences to tie us now.
I did go back to one of my old towns a few years back and just turned up on doorsteps and said 'hello'.  With some it was a quick transition back to it being 'just the same' but with a couple there was a noticeable 'gap'.  But as the last couple of years have gone by I have not maintained that renewed contact... it is a shame. 
I don't think I really nurture the friendships I have now but find I am happy in my own company but do experience a slight pang when I see peers who spend many hours a week with their 'friends' and rely on each other for emotional and physical support....perhaps I should seek out and develop more of that type of friendship....but then again it might mean I have to expend more energy than I have at the moment......

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