ENDURING AND SUSTAINING friendships are amongst the richest of life’s many gifts. Petter and Gunnweig Osthus and their family spent a year’s sabbatical in one of my former parishes. They’re from Trondheim in Norway and we’ve not seen each other for a decade. I’ve not seen John Swallow, pictured with them, for 10 years either. But today the years slipped away and we each took up conversation after the 10.45 Eucharist here as though we’d seen each other only yesterday.
I was in West Yorkshire though, not Trondheim, yesterday. And amongst the old friends I met there was the intrepid cycling Canon John Bowers (who, sparing his blushes, is nearly 80 years old). John learned of my Dad’s present sojourn in hospital and without a word to me cycled over from West Kirby this morning to visit him there – much to my father’s very great delight. Abiding friendships, the kind that endure across years and physical distance are, quite simply, life-giving joy incarnate. I’m deeply thankful.