I don’t have many friends who knew me when I was a kid. Throughout my life I’ve tended to have a small number of deeply personal friends as compared to a large number of acquaintances; and this is fine, it just means that I don’t have many people in my life who knew me as a kid, period. And of that small circle of people who “knew me back in the day”, I usually only hear from a few of them a few times a year.
But when I am remembered by these folks, when they do send me a quick note, it enlivens my heart. I am instantly taken back to memories and experiences that formed and shaped me; and I feel (physically feel in my chest) the deep connection I shared with these people.
This morning I received a note from one of those “knew-me-when” friends; she described a happy moment she recently experienced, and shared some encouraging words with me. But honestly, just seeing her name, and hearing her tone and demeanor come through her written text, and being able to visualize what she was doing back in our home town… it filled me – flooded me – with happiness.
There is something so very special about friends who knew me when I was young, raw, unguarded, and unrefined. Friends who helped me with math problems over the phone after school, and friends whose houses I stayed in overnight. Friends who cared less about what I looked like or where I lived or what I had, and who cared more about what I thought – and felt. True, honest friends, in every positive sense of the word. Three sentences from one of those kinds of friends just a few times a year can still make my heart swell; and indeed, today it did.