Friendships are undervalued these days. We have a lot of acquaintances – people we go to school or work with, people we see at church or at sporting events, or even at parties. But how many do we call a true friend? The kind of friend who speaks the truth in love, or that perseveres with us even in hard times? In this friend, we find a love that does not look for anything in return, as we look for ways to promote the interests and the happiness of others!

My Balcony Girls group learned another valuable lesson today, as we spent a day celebrating “friendship.” Since one of the girls in the group is moving away, today we had to say good-bye. It was not easy, because this one darling girl has been a real bright spot in the other girls’ lives for three years. She has also felt pain that none of these little girls have experienced, having lost her Mommy to cancer just 18 months ago.

Just this week red, vibrant tulips are blooming in our backyard. The Balcony Girls and I planted these bulbs in memory of this girl’s Mommy. What a true sign of friendship – because every Spring as I look at the beauty in these flowers, I’m reminded of what a beautiful woman her Mommy was, and how much that Mommy loved her daughter. We admired these tulips together today, talking about how these girls were there for their friend during a difficult time. And I must add that our sweet friend has been building a true friendship with her wonderful step-Mommy now, an added blessing to her young life!

This cohesive group of girls seemed to understand the loss today, of a friend moving away. As we celebrated, reminisced, signed journals, ate a yummy *GIANT CUPCAKE, exchanged gifts – you could just feel the love in the air.

We talked about a survey that was recently done, in which it was determined that the qualities that people find most valuable in friendships are: honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, sense of humor, caring, fun, loving, understanding, good listening and kindness! Many of these virtues we’ve discussed in past Balcony Girl lessons!

We talked again about how friends are always there for each other. How we are to value our friends and give them priority in our lives. We should continue to build up and not tear down (our Balcony Girl’s mission!).

Yes, true friends are rare – and if we recognize their worth, we will continue to cultivate them. I have no doubt that these girls will stay in touch with their friend after she moves away. And friendships will continue to grow, even through cyber land.

Lastly, as the girls each painted their names onto a pillowcase to be sent with their friend, I explained that a true friendship mirrors the love God has for us. It is not just a “relationship” but also a generous love.

What a beautiful thought that is!

(My oven died right as I was putting our GIANT CUPCAKE in the oven this morning! So I quickly rearranged our snacks for the day, and I ran over to my neighbor’s house to use her oven. Oh, when disasters happen! We’re having a dinner party tomorrow night. HOW WILL I DO IT WITHOUT AN OVEN? )

*If any local friends want to borrow my cool cupcake pan, give me a call! Don’t buy one – they’re $27 at Target, and I’d be happy to share!!

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