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Viewpoint from Jane Clamp 01/03/2019

Jane Clamp is the author of Too Soon, a devotional on the subject of miscarriage.  A member of the Association of Christian Writers, she writes for local and national radio. In her spare time she is an interior designer and musician


as published in the Yarmouth Mercury


The Joys of Friendship

One weekend, I went away with fellow members of a committee I serve on. It’s an annual event, and not one I anticipate with much relish. Sure, it’s nice to be away from home with ensuite facilities, a cooked breakfast and sticky toffee pudding on the Sunday; but, beyond that, was usually more dread than excitement. This year, however, proved to be different and it was entirely down to one factor: without noticing it, we had developed from being colleagues into friends
dove leftMy down-time was spent catching up with individuals whose support has become invaluable during the past year. Normally conducted through Facebook or email, our now face-to-face conversations revealed a new depth. Small talk had become deeper talk. No longer feeling we were chatting at the doorstep but invited into the lounge, so to speak
Friends are a rare commodity these days. Your social media platforms might try to convince you otherwise but how many of these photographed faces are actual friends? How many of them could you turn to in a crisis? How many would you want to spend an evening – or a whole weekend – with?
There are people in my life that I have known for a great number of years and I’m so grateful for the longevity of those particular friendships. There’s a ‘girl’ I’ve known since we were four, another I met at high school, and one I’ve known since we were teenagers at a church youth group. We’re all grown up, but haven’t outgrown each other and that is precious; but life isn’t always like that
Dove rightWhen friendships that were once close become more distant, it can be very painful. Sometimes it’s just a case of geography: we no longer live just around the corner. Maybe life and career took up all the available space that the relationship had once enjoyed. At other times there may have been a falling-out, with all the difficulties that creates. You may even have felt the need to withdraw to the safety of your own company, with no strength to risk being so hurt again
I’ve certainly experienced all the above and yet I cannot fail to notice that whenever I’ve entered into a new season, there have been new friends waiting for me. Friends that ‘get’ the newer version of me, who understand my needs and take pleasure in meeting them. In turn, I have the responsibility and fun of getting to know them better, of discovering how my appearance in their life has been designed to help fulfil them, too
The book of Proverbs has this nugget regarding friendship: "Friends come, and friends go but a true friend sticks by you like family" (18:24, The Message). The ultimate friend is Jesus: loyal, sacrificial, the list goes on. If I’m to be a good friend and have good friends, I know I need to learn from Him. How about you?


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