As we continue our family vacation in Pennsylvania, this afternoon and evening we visited with old friends of my father-in-law, Joe. Danny and Joe knew each other from when they were kids. They went to school together, played basketball together, and often got in trouble together. We even heard the story of how Joe had saved Danny’s life when Danny went in swimming and almost drowned.

Now the interesting thing is that these two close friends lost track of each other not long after high school. Danny went off to college and Joe left for the Air Force. It wasn’t until four decades later they reconnected through a mutual friend. Now they stay in touch through email, phone calls, and the occasional visit.

This is a perfect lesson of how, if we are willing to put in a little effort, we really can renew old relationships that have somehow slipped by the wayside. So often we hesitate about reaching out to someone who was once close to us. We feel guilty because we let the relationship fade. It’s easier just to move on and meet new people.

As I watched these old friends tonight, though, I realized that, among all the relationships we have in our life, we must have at least a few which span the years. Without them, the tapestry of our friendships is missing a color or two. Sure, we can always meet new people, but we need to know that we are worthy of being known for longer —  that we aren’t simply using our connections to achieve our goals for the moment — that, indeed, the journey of our life can draw people further into our circles of acquaintance and friendship.