Valuing the friendships that shape us Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholc News Service   
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

In life, we are continually on the move. Sometimes the move involves a new home or new town. Sometimes it means graduation or a new job.

Regardless of the type of change, every time we make a move, we naturally assess where we were, where we're going, and what we need for the next part of our journey.

We evaluate what we own, eliminate what we no longer need and plan for new additions that match our new lifestyle. Leaving college may mean an end to trendy posters of movies and musicians, but also the start of a professional clothing collection to make us look like successful adults.

We also take a similar assessment of the people in our lives, often without realizing it. In high school, we see the same people every day for four years. There's an undeniable connection. Then, when our four years are over, we toss our graduation caps into the air and never see some of those people again.

After they meant so much, for so long, those people are gone. It's not because we're forgetful, but the bond we had no longer exists. Our relationship is reduced to nothing more than a broken connection.

This occurs often as we grow older. People we thought we could never live without become less prominent as others enter our lives. Sometimes, some of those people disappear from our lives, and sometimes they don't.

Sometimes the bonds we make are more than where we went to school, where we worked, or the neighborhood where we lived. Sometimes our connections are much deeper and refuse to fade, while others are easily forgotten.

I have friends from high school and college whom I rarely have seen since graduation. We're separated in many ways, but I know a connection still exists. I feel it. If we randomly meet, it feels as if no time has passed. If they needed help, I'd give it.

Those are the people with whom our bond is the strongest, those we refuse to forget.

Sometimes the effect on each others' lives is mutual. Sometimes the connection only goes in one direction. What if what they mean to us is far greater than what we mean to them? Should that matter?

Relationships are rarely equal. Think back to the days when you and your friends discussed the person who was your best friend and the one who was your third-best friend. We all wanted to be number one on every list. As a child, those determinations meant something. As an adult, what's important is to be true to oneself.

Every time we make a move, we naturally assess where we were, where we're going and what we need for the next part of our journey. Through that process, we continually create the person we want to become.

It's important, however, to remember those who made us the person we are presently. Their role in creating our identity should never be overlooked.

Fortunately, it's easy to know who those people are. Even when they're gone, they're the ones we can never forget. In our hearts, we know we will see them again. If we remember the lessons they taught us, we'll be precisely where we need to be, no matter where life takes us.

Erick Rommel is a former staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


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