Pastor Steve is one of my very best friends. He's almost half my age and has a beautiful family in the next little town over. He knows full well that I'm not a Christian and he doesn't care at all. And I don't care what he believes. We share much deeper values, and love to get together and talk politics and family and life in general. He always thinks of me when his church is offering something I'd enjoy, or if he gets free tickets to a concert. I got to see Earth Wind & Fire recently!
Whenever Pastor Steve (okay, I just call him Steve) comes over here, to my isolated country house surrounded by nature, we'd sit outside and smoke cigarettes. Steve doesn't smoke in his real life. He's one of those rare people who can "enjoy" smoking with someone once in a blue moon and that's it. Now, I haven't seen Steve all winter, but we've been keeping up on Facebook and he knows I've quit. He's proud of me for doing so, but admits a selfish wish that we could keep the old tradition. I totally get that.
The great thing about true friendship is that we can honestly admit that sort of thing, and then move on. That part of our relationship is over. To be completely honest, I'd worried at first that maybe he'd hesitate in resuming our conversations without the illicit smoking as part of it. I know that the next time we get together we'll talk about it, sort of like saying goodbye to an old friend. (Yeah, I know smoking isn't a friend, but it's okay to admit to those feelings.)
Friendship has to survive change. No one stays the same their whole life, and quitting smoking is a HUGE change. So is moving out of my isolated country house and into a small apartment complex surrounded by people. But that's another story.