Tuesday, September 9, 2008

friends are like scotch tape

do you have a good friend? you know, the kind where even if you don’t talk for awhile, you’re able to pick up where you left off?

when we were first married, there was a group of us – young married couples – all in the same boat. just learning how to be married, starting our families. most of us were struggling financially.

this shot is some of us in the early 80's. (we will be shot for posting this.)

fast forward another 20+ years.

recently, i got to thinking about it, and decided that seeing each other “occasionally” was no longer good enough. so i sent out invitations to the girls and asked if we could make a point of getting together four times a year. doesn’t sound like much, but some years we don’t see each other at all. we set the date for our first “girl-together”. that night we laughed, we cried, we told stories, and we shared our troubles.

we laughingly call ourselves “the magnolias” – after the movie “steel magnolias”. we are all really very different, yet deeply devoted to each other.

we were surprised when our kids complained because they weren’t included. our husbands wanted to know when they could join us. our families remembered all the years past - all the events – the intimate history we share. they wanted to reconnect too.

we decided to have a “family reunion”. our friends jeff and cindy volunteered their house; they rented a bounce house for the kids, fired up the Q, and the families came. our totals: 7 couples. 23 kids. 14 grandchildren. most of our children are grown now with families of their own. there were “kids” there I didn’t recognize. the whole lot of them world changers. among us there are business owners, nurses, engineers, teachers, musicians, pastors. . . the list goes on and on - people of influence in so many arenas of life – strong men and women of conviction who are using their gifts and skills to affect the globe for good.

then it hit me. i am convinced that these precious people are a good part of the reason why we are still married, and why our kids are at least, fairly normal (note to my children: one of the reasons you are all so wonderful is that you don’t fit the mold). as we reminisced, i let my mind wander – re-capturing memories – some good, some painful. times when there was cause for great celebration, and times when the world was ending. the common thread was that we were there for
each other. we listened. we prayed. we encouraged. we laughed. like scotch tape we stuck by each other. we told each other when we needed the telling. we risked. we loved. we challenged. we discovered together how to love our husbands, love our wives, and we shared what we learned with each other. we helped each other raise our children.

we talk about the importance of friendships, but we live our lives as if we are the only ones that really matter. a hearty THANK YOU to the courageous, risk-taking, faithful, cutting edge men and women in our lives – our dearest friends. you have loved us and encouraged us in this race, and because you did, we are still racing. : )