Sometimes, I grill preformed burgers, microwave frozen vegetables, put out corn chips and call it a meal. Hunger is allayed without much effort. In contrast, I relish days when I have time for slow cooking. The tender meat and fresh vegetables are full of flavor, and the baked goods have a sweet aroma. This hearty meal gives those who eat it a greater sense of satisfaction.
So it is with friendships. We do the best we can with the time we have. Speed friending meets a need, especially for busy, young moms. In other seasons of life, we are privileged to take the slow route where friendships develop deep, complex flavors over time.
My good friend, Joy, and I are meandering down the slow path. Our children are grown, and our jobs are part-time so we have the luxury of spending a day or two together every few weeks. Joy gave me two signs to hang on the wall. Their wording sums up our relationship. One says, “It takes a long time to grow old friends.” The other, more whimsical one, is a paraphrase from Peter Pan. “Do you want an adventure now or shall we have our tea first?”
I didn’t always take tea with Joy. We were casual acquaintances because our children were friends at school, but we were busy with other things. My first major conversation with Joy occurred when my car bumper hit hers in the school parking lot. I did no serious damage, but I jumped out of the car and apologized. She quickly responded, “Maybe God is trying to humble you!”
Many years later, I was going through a trying time adjusting to an empty nest and dealing with a ministry problem. I needed a friend, and God brought Joy to my mind. I called her and suggested that we get together. We met and found that we share many of the same delights and struggles. And so, our “slow cooking” friendship began.
Now, we are very relaxed together even though we come from different denominations and possess distinct personalities. Joy and I share the deep bond that forms from loving Christ and wanting to follow Him. And, she understands ministry life. She was raised on the mission field and has sisters and a daughter in ministry. Joy gives me godly advice and encouragement. An added bonus is that we have adventures and tea together.
I thank God for bringing us together. And, I am grateful that our season of life allows us to savor the abundant blessings that we share in Christ. “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” Proverbs 27:9