I've been reflecting this week on the gift of friendship, of people who will be there no matter what you need or when you need it. Sometimes a friend accompanies us through a dark place or dances with us through a joyful time or simply walks down the road of an ordinary time beside us.
Name five friends who have been there when you needed them.
TDH – I honestly do not think that there could be a better match than TDH and I. I could wax poetic, but I won’t. I think I’ll save that for an August post when we will celebrate our 10th anniversary.
The Onion Rings – Our best friends. We met in seminary and one of the cool things about our friendship is that looking back if we had not met in one way, we would have met in the other. First on my personal ‘to-do’ list at Greek summer class was to find a softball team to play on (I know I do better academically when I have an athletic outlet). Mr. OR was the manager… they also lived in our building. Mrs. OR was one of the few women that realized I was not after her husband just because I could speak ‘sports’ and my own husband was away for portions of the week working my way through seminary. She and I would waste away hours watching FRIENDS on tape – without commercials – so by the time the boys came home our brains were mush and our bladders were plenty full.
Now they live way too far away and we see each other twice a year. But we talk on the phone A LOT. They drove up to be with us when we lost Baby Snowpea and Mr. OR preached a sermon that is still requested by my parishioners when they are going through a trial.
For me they are once-in-a-lifetime friends.
The Mothering Crew – Like anyone, my teenage years were awkward. I was the kid who couldn’t shut her mouth, who laughed at her own jokes… loudly (okay I still do that), who asked to borrow the hair dryer so she could dry her underwear after swimming in the pool in her clothes, you get the point… Anyway, my home was my church and my friends were from there too. Mrs. A, Mrs. R and Mrs. W/F were mothers of my church friends who believed in me even – ESPECIALLY – when I did not.
One particularly hyper summer day I had bounced a little too enthusiastically off of one of their diving boards and ripped that board right off. For some reason it sent me into a tailspin (I can’t do anything right, I’m so ungraceful and ugly… those of you who were ever pre-teen girls you know the drill). The Mothering Crew gathered around me and consoled me and promised that one day my energy and laughter and drive would all make sense one day.
I really had forgotten all about that incident until all of them traveled from NE state to Southern state for our wedding. At the rehearsal dinner different people got up to share different things and these three women handed me a small package. Inside were the screws and the bolts from that diving board. They had purposefully saved them for my wedding day.
And what truly makes them great is that they all gave us really great wedding presents too!
Tiny Stewart – I am 5’10”, she is 4’11”. I love football, baseball and can boil water. She would not know a football from a baseball but can cook a seven course meal with her eyes closed and takes the time to do things like carve the butter into little hearts for Valentine's Day. She makes her own window treatments and can cross-stitch without a pattern. I sewed a button on once.
We are great friends and we made an excellent team in Youth Ministry since for some reason the tomboy youth director had a youth group filled with cheerleaders. I have spent hours with her in a 15 passenger van that smelled like dead rat, would not go over 60 (stupid governor), and was filled to the brim with teenagers of all ages either wanting to know if we were there yet, spraying body perfumes at the boys, or blissfully snoring while we tried to stay awake by finding a radio station - hard to do since the van did not have an antenna because the chair of the property committee did not think "radio was appropriate for driving safely."
From her I learned that all the surface stuff really does not matter when you have the same foundation – love for God, similar Call, etc… She was a member of the church that was great for me professionally but very lonely for me personally. She gave me family when my own was over a thousand miles away.
She was the first one from that town to meet TDH and it was to her that I reported, “I am going to marry that guy." She was the Maid of Honor in our wedding. In January we got to visit after a long time apart and I quickly repaid her for all she has meant to me by giving her a stomach virus. Oops.
Emerald Palace – This friendship is just beginning to bloom. Her daughter was born at the same time ours was lost and she grieved with us then and rejoices with us now that we have The Boy. She reads this blog and will probably hate that I posted this, but too bad.
She is funnier than she thinks, appropriately laughs at all my jokes, whip-smart, and does not mind when I steal er, borrow her ministry ideas. She is a great Mom and a great supporter of women. She lets me be snippy and cynical to her about some of our colleagues so that I do not say those things in public.
She is a lot of fun and although I know that one of us will eventually move to a different area I hope our friendship will continue to grow. (By the way, EP, the only real chance that actually has of happening is totally dependent on you never mentioning this out loud. I have a reputation to protect).
I preached on friends once in a sermon titled "That Corny Friends Song" - in reference to the Michael W. Smith number that we listened to ad nauseum on youth group retreats. The Onion Rings were in the congregation as they were about to move away.
Here is how I ended it: Friends provide: a sense of belonging, a bond of love, a place of understanding.
I know how precious friends are. They are a unique gift of life from God.
Thanks friends, including my new revgalblogpal friends and Songbird for this really fun, thought-provoking meme.