Today we saw one of my husband's oldest friends. They have known each other since kindergarten and became good friends in middle school. I love meeting and spending time with people who knew Henry before I did; each interaction sheds light on a new facet of who he is.
When his friend left to head back to Houston, I mentioned to Henry that it seems as though they would not have become good friends if they had met today. He agreed, but also pointed out how valuable their differences were when he was a teenager. Henry is naturally reserved and an introvert through-and-through. In middle school and high school, this friend helped Henry become more social and interact with more people than he otherwise would have. They are still good friends and often have camping/hiking trips in the works. Even though they are on divergent paths, they have found a way to walk them together.
I love that about friends. I love how life sometimes seems to choose your friends for you instead of letting you have control, because sometimes life knows what you need more than you do. From an outsider's perspective two people may not be a lot in common, but something clicks and there's no turning back. I found that to be my experience in grad school. The people who on first glance I had the most in common with are not the people I still call on the phone. In fact, my closest friend from my time in Oregon is my opposite in many respects. When I first met her I never would have guessed that we would become fast friends. But we did, and she brings out a side in me that no one else does. And for that? I am grateful. Because who needs a gaggle of friends just like us? It's much more interesting to be surrounded by people who challenge us and force us to grow into something more, and hopefully better, than we were before we met them.