Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Stuff That Keeps Us Going

My dear friend Jess is flying over the ocean right now. She and her husband are bringing their third child home. She has most graciously included me on each one of their adoption journeys. Reading her blog updates from China these passed two weeks has been so inspiring, and so humbling. Who am I to be included? How do I deserve to be privy to these precious first pictures? I feel as though I have witnessed something sacred, and I have.

For twenty-five years she has included me.

As different from me as night and day.

Knit to my soul. Forever.

My sister, Fran, celebrated her fortieth birthday last week. Her sweet husband tried to include me on the birthday surprise. Apparently, it has been her life long dream to have a huge collection of throw pillows. He asked me to send her a pillow or two. I wanted to. I tried, I really tried. I looked and looked and then I froze. Because, I wanted the pillow to be perfect and extra special. I wanted it to symbolize just how grateful I am for her friendship. She isn't just my sister, she's the second half of my brain. She is the best.

I never did pick out a pillow.

Instead, I showed up at her house at midnight, with my husband, my kids and one of my dogs. Happy Birthday!

Today I called a friend that has recently moved away. She isn't someone that I have known for too long, but somehow the roots go deep. Perhaps it's because we share some of the same heartaches... It was so good to hear her voice. We laughed and we cried, because isn't that the ingredients for a really good phone call?

Together, she and I would make the perfect wife. I could cook, she could clean....I'm pretty sure our temperaments would compliment each other.

Although, she's thinner than me....so that might be a deal breaker.

The other night I got a text from a friend that I rarely see anymore. It was a picture of her oldest son, all dressed and ready for the homecoming dance. That boy had his first ever sleep-over at my house when he was seven.....AND HE DID NOT SLEEP OVER! He was still awake at 2:00, at 3:00, at 4:00....etc. I was knocking on her door at 8:00 the next morning.....

It's a shame that I have let months go by without a call or text.

Does she have any idea how much she means to me?

My life has been richly blessed with wonderful friendships. Some that have remained despite the distance or our differences. I rarely have the luxury of a "girls night"....or weekends away. In fact, this summer when I finally made it up north to see a friend, our only time alone together was when we snuck off to Target to get a pair of shoes. But I know this to be fact, true and honest friendship offers hope and renewal.....in a blog post, a chaotic meal, a mid-day phone call, or even a short text message.

Sometimes I wish I had a backdoor neighbor, like we had in seminary. My friend Hope and I used to swap recipes and watch babies while sitting on a little porch stoop. It was awesome to tap on her door and borrow sugar or an egg....I miss that. But I could call her right now and completely forget that it's been thirteen years ago.

Just a few weeks ago, we found ourselves at the table of friends not once but twice in the same week... They live across the river....the right side of the river, where there is shopping and veterinarians. I have to be honest and say that it's unusual for our family to be invited over for dinner AT ALL....and in their home we enjoyed sweet fellowship and really good coffee.

Friendship is the stuff that keeps us going.

It's the beginning. And it's the end.

It is my prayer that my children would experience this same gift. That they will be a friend.

Always a friend.

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