Today I was able to do something that just a few short weeks ago I never would have imagined I would do. Recently, after something like thirteen years, I was able to get in touch with my best friend from college. We met while working on the grounds crew at BYU as students and we were great friends until the vagaries of life decided to intervene. It was largely my fault we lost touch. Granted, he had gone away to school somewhere in the mid-west, though I forget where, and then later settled in Denver, but we had stayed in touch until just after my divorce. During that time, I reached a point where I essentially quit talking to everyone around me, including my family. I had convinced myself that they were all sick of hearing me talk about my divorce and feeling like they had to support me emotionally, so I basically pulled away from everyone. For the most part, I know that was not the case, but that was how I dealt with it at the time. I withdrew from all but the most superficial social contact and kept basically to myself.
The main result of my actions was that I managed to lose touch with every friend I had. As I began to emerge from my self-imposed exile, I accepted the fact that I would likely never hear from any of my old friends again. The problem was that I did not find it easy to make new friends. Aside from a few online flirtations and a long distance relationship that lasted well beyond what should have been it's natural course, I found that I was largely without friends. I had no guys that I hung out with; nobody I watched the game with or did any of the things that so many other people seemed to do all the time.
At first I was not bothered much. I was fine keeping to myself. I did not make friends among co-workers, mainly because I like to keep my real life separate from my work life. Besides that, I never really met anyone that I really clicked with. I thought I had found a friend in my most recent job, but since I was laid off I discovered that I was wrong, but that is another story. After she had spent a couple of hours on the phone with one of her friends, I had actually remarked to my wife that I had no friends. It was a sobering thing to realize.
Then I decided to set up a page on Facebook. The idea was that maybe I could gain more exposure for my photography, but the real benefit was that I was able to contact my college friend again. He had tried to get in touch with me earlier while I was dating my wife, but I was otherwise occupied and ended up losing his phone number. Once I set up my Facebook page, on a whim I decided to search for him and there he was, still living in the Denver area. We managed to talk on the phone and it was like old times.
The remarkable thing for me was that today, after all these years, we met each other again and it was as if thirteen years melted away into nothing. I'm not saying that neither of us had changed; too much had happened to both of us to ever say that. what I am saying is that none of that mattered. We were still friends and it was as easy to sit down and talk as it had ever been. Seeing him and his wife took me back to those days in college and it felt like those old bonds renewed themselves instantly, in total disregard to the experiences we had each had. It was an amazing experience for me to know that our friendship had been strong enough all along to survive intact after all these years.
I know that we will not lose touch again. His friendship is important to me and I will not let that happen. I know that my wife and I will make it out to Denver to visit, and I would like to think that they will come out here again some time. I have learned the value of friendship and I will be a better friend. We talked today for almost two hours, and would have talked much longer if family had not called him away. Though a death in the family had necessitated his coming here, I cannot help but be grateful that we were able to connect again after all these years. I cannot help but think this surely must be a harbinger of better things to come. Our friendship has been renewed, and that is the best thing to happen to me in awhile.