We hadn't seen each other in way too long. The issue wasn't distance, I can drive to her house in under two hours. We could easily meet up somewhere in the middle. We had both simply let life and busy-ness get in the way, and we had let ourselves get a bit lazy about making the effort. Maybe we had both forgotten that there was something valuable that we were in danger of letting die through neglect. Maybe all of those reasons are why I never kept in touch with my friends from high school or college. Ours is the longest friendship I have. It's been over thirty two years since we first met. I was the new youth pastor's wife at the church where she was involved in leading worship. We were both young wives, both young mamas. We raised our kids together, her two boys and my three girls were almost like siblings. Even when we moved away, she would come to see me or I would go to see her. Our kids, and sometimes husbands, would come along. Stories of our times together are some of the most common memories our children talk about.
We live in a culture where relationships are expendable, disposable. It's common practice to walk away from a relationship when conflict arises instead of walking through hard times with each other. We managed to maintain our relationship through its highs and lows, maybe not in the right way, the talking it all through way. Our method was more to just let it go, to forgive and forget.
She recently celebrated a milestone birthday. I texted her early that morning and wished her a happy birthday, then picked a date and said let's meet! And so we did. We sat at a Starbucks and caught up on all the news about her family and mine. We talked about the challenges of aging, about church and answers to prayer, about joys and struggles. Just like always, it felt as if we just picked up where we had left off, as if it hadn't been such a long time since we'd talked or seen each other. We walked around the mall and shopped a bit, and I schooled her on why she definitely should branch out and embrace leather booties with her skinny jeans rolled up just to the top of the boot. She bought the booties in both brown and black and bought two new pair of skinny jeans. We joked about how her husband will say, "what'd your sidekick talk you into now?" and how she'll boast about how much money she saved because of the sales we found. We knew he'd respond with, "How much did you have to spend to save that much?"
Eventually we sat down for a late lunch at a favorite restaurant. We laughed, we teared up at times, we talked and talked. The day before I had dealt with some disappointment, but somehow just being with my friend who had been with me through so many years of life's ups and downs lifted me out of the funk.
Our time together reminded me of the value and importance of all of the women in my life. From my sisters, to my longtime friends, to friends I've just made in recent years, each relationship is a valuable thread in the tapestry of my life. I need them. I need the laughter, the tears, the silly conversations and the deep ones, things that can only be shared with someone who really knows you, who really gets you, and who loves you in spite of it all. I've been diligent to be disciplined in God's Word and prayer, in diet and exercise, all in attempts to finish life strong and well. I've come to realize this is another important piece of the puzzle. I must be disciplined to nurture the relationships with my sisters and my friends. I need these relationships. They are just too important to let wither and die from neglect.
Also joining THOUGHT PROVOKING THURSDAYS
at 3-D Lessons for Life
Kelli at CHRONICLES OF GRACE