Of all the gifts for which I am grateful, one of the most precious is the gift of friends, several of whom have been in my life for 30 years or more. My best friend from third grade kept in touch for over 40 years until she passed away. True friends were right there when I needed them most after my cancer diagnosis -- whether by my side during chemo or at the other end of the telephone line cheering me on from afar. They are, every one, bright shiny treasures in my life's jewel box.
Over the years I've learned that some friends come into our lives for something less than all time -- a poem exists describing them as friends for a "reason or a season." The undeniable truth of that makes me sad, and acceptance of it is difficult because of the importance I place on friendship. But even as I have grown to understand that not every friend can be a lifetime one, I value their friendship nonetheless for what it was while it lasted. I am ever grateful for it, because I learn something from them all -- about myself, about others, and about what it is to connect with another human being on this earth. No friendship -- however brief -- is wasted.