#66: Enduring Friendships

#66: Enduring Friendships

I am so lucky. I found a handful of kindred-spirit friends in college and just after, and most of us live in the Atlanta area. Even though I certainly don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, it’s not impossible, and doesn’t require a major trip.

Last week, some of these dear ones gathered for my upcoming birthday to give me the girls night I so desperately needed. Only five of the eight of us could come. Those of us who have children waited until we were older to have them, so we’re in a middle-aged (cringe!) season of caring for ailing parents and small children at the same time. On Friday night, one friend was absent and caring for her father, and another for her young sons. (And the other was recovering from a car accident, poor friend!)

But even with just five of us together, an astounding number of years of friendship were represented. I have been close friends with the four other women there for 25, 24, 15, and 12 years. They are the ones I wanted to poll about what kind of makeup they’re using. (I really did – it’s time for a change – but that’s another story – a boring one…) They are the ones from whom I want to hear about new music, skin care routines, marriage, books, movies – the whole gamut of life’s minutiae.

After decades of friendship, sharing life’s minutiae has added up to a significant journey together. These are the women who I texted from the hospital when my father died. Three of these women were at the funerals of both of my parents. All of them were a part of my home base here while I lived overseas. Three of them helped me clean the filthy corners of our empty house we moved into last year.

So it’s not all giggles and girls nights, of course. We’re only human. We all enjoyed our single days together, but hoped to be married and possibly have kids by now. So we’ve watched each other get married and have babies with lots of joy and varying bits of self-pity (speaking for myself here) and flecks of grief. Sometimes the gears on our easy friendships began to squeak and grind during times of transition into marriage and motherhood. And, as I’ve written before, there have been seasons in which we weren’t available to each other much at all.

But somehow, these friendships have endured. Sure, not everybody is everybody’s best friend, but we still have fun together and care about each other. We talk about the millions of things we have in common and sometimes laugh until we hurt. We talk about our struggles and hurt for each other. All the water that’s traveled under the bridge, good and bad, has made our bonds stronger.

I hope that you have friends like these. I hope that you are building friendships like these. There have been moments with some that have caused me to want to stop building, to lay down my bricks and trowel and move on. But somehow, I never do. I have heard every one of these women pray out loud for me. I have prayed for every one of them. Maybe prayers, laughter and tears make for a beyond-human bond between friends.

I don’t know about you, but I need all the “beyond-human” in my life I can get.

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