I suddenly have the urge to reflect upon this rather complex relationship. Presently, I have a dear friend that is experiencing some enormous changes. My heart hurts. I am deeply saddened. I mourn the loss. I celebrate the growth. I respect the choices.
Through the years, I have come to realize the immense value that friendship holds, the richness and beauty it adds to our lives. The side splitting laughter. The heartfelt tears. The precious trust. The loving honesty. The inevitable growing pains. The treasured memories.
Friendship also allows for growth. For change. For forgiveness.
Through the years I have seen friendships come and go. I treasure old friends and celebrate new ones. I can't imagine my life without either.
When I was 5, her mother moved in with us during the tumultuous breakup of her marriage. She lived with us for 2 years. We giggled and laughed and fought and played. Her mother remarried and severed all ties with previous friends. She and I lost touch.
When I was 14, she befriended me in History class. We became fast friends. We passed umpteen notes and giggled over the cute new boy with the southern drawl and the one with puppy dog eyes. We whispered long into the night during sleepovers and cried over our first broken hearts. She left to live with her mom, married, moved and we lost touch although recently, I celebrate the fact that I received a note from her via e-mail and look forward to renewing our friendship.
When I was 21, she became my roommate in college. Our friendship ebbed and flowed but never wavered. She introduced me to fashion and shopping. She was neat. I was messy. She has an infectious laugh. She's an intelligent entrepreneur and a fabulous mom. Our phone calls last for hours and my heart was crushed for her when she lost her Daddy and then, many years later, her Mother. We've shared the celebration of our marriages and motherhood as well as the times we just want to bonk our beloved husbands on the head.
When I was 23, and newly married , she was a customer at the bank where I worked. She invited Gary and I to eat breakfast at their home after a Valentine's dance in town. We had no children. She had 5 and I fell in love with all of them. She is hands down the most amazing mom I know. She worked 80 hour weeks with her husband, building a business and always tended to her family. Just watching her exhausted me. It still does. Gary threw away the Pictionary game after the four of us played it. She and I just think alike and the boys didn't have a chance. We have an uncanny way of starting each other's sentences and knowing what the other person is thinking. It's a good thing we don't live next door to each other (it would drive our husbands crazy), but I still wish she did.
When I was 33, she was wandering around a trade show with a toddler on her hip and another little one tugging at her jeans. I stopped to comment on the blessings of motherhood and how they grow all too quickly. Gary pointed out that she was the woman who had written an article in Western Horseman entitled, "The Busy Day" and her words resonated with me. I went back to praise her for her gift of writing, we exchanged addresses and a friendship was born. We wrote voraciously. Long, long, long letters exceeding 20 or 30 pages every 10 days or so. She helped me navigate the homeschooling waters when we chose to educate our children at home. We exchanged recipes and spent entire nights and early mornings talking about life in the parking lot of the hotel when we saw each other at various cowboy gatherings. She challenged me to think and grow and reach.
When I was 42, she, or rather, they, bowled me over with their passion for life. At a time when I was struggling to bloom where I was planted, the Lord brought me two tremendous blessings.These two women both have amazing hearts for the Lord. I will never forget the morning spent in a cornfield. A morning of laughter. A morning of gathering corn. A morning of precious prayer. Day trips with these two are a complete hoot. I think we have been banned from Lubbock for having too much fun. We embarass our children with our vivacious laughter. We come bearing food and chocolate and hugs and prayers.
Friendship always brings me to my knees in prayer. It brings me to the feet of the Father - for gratitude and forgiveness and guidance and mercy and love. It is the only perfect relationship. The only lasting bond, but our earthly friendships are touched by His hand and leave lasting impressions on our hearts.