Tonight I learned that your friends, your true friends, are always your friends. Time and circumstance may separate you. Others may invade or occupy the space that friends once filled. Careers and new opportunities may create distance between you. But when the time is right... when you really need them... not simply when you THINK you really need them most, but when they are supposed to be a part of your life, they will be. Your true friends are always your friends.
Twenty years may pass. But it's comforting to know that once you're all back in one room, the conversation may have matured or changed due to life experience but the friends are still the same. The phrases you once shared still work. The laughter is familiar. Some of the old jokes still stand. And your friends are still your friends.
And at the same time, it's all new too. Your old friends, after twenty years, are your new friends. They are your old new friends. With new stories and different experiences that have brought them through your time apart to get to now.
Twenty years ago, when you were 18 years old, you couldn't imagine life getting any better. You were surrounded by your four best friends, laughing and plotting and planning the future and pulling off seemingly impossible but unforgettable moments. Life was joyful and fun, even when it was painful. Because it doesn't get better than five friends on a new adventure every day.
But it does get better. Time and circumstance may separate you. Others may invade or occupy the space that friends once filled. Careers and new opportunities may create distance between you. There are births and deaths and divorce and a lot of other things you'll never discuss. But when the time is right, your old friends will be new again. And the hugs will be better. The sincerity of emotion and feeling is stronger and more solid. Ashley still won't get the jokes. Cammie will still giggle until she's red in the face. Sylvia will tickle you with her stories and catch phrases. Mikki will spout off all the "what's meant to be." Roxanne will stay quietly committed. And your friends... Your true friends... will still be your friends.
Thank God for that.