Friends in all places

Today my dear friend turns 39. She is brilliant and creative and has experienced life very differently than I have. Twenty-eight months ago, 40 months from her 40th birthday, she began planning for something amazing. She set aside $40 every month to save for her 40th birthday trip. Who thinks of something so cool?

True friends will save your life when you feel like your losing it….mentally, spiritually, figuratively, and for-real-sy.

I am honored to have a few people call me friend. You know it’s a real friend when they remember your birthday (not because Facebook reminded them), when they have a great story about the thing that happened that one time, and when they can show up unannounced at just the right time.

Here are a few of my “keepers”. I hope to be the type of friend that is documented and beloved so I wanted to tell you about mine.

August 2 marks one friend’s birthday. This friend has traveled the world. She has spent time on different continents. She has experienced heartache that is unmatched by any of my life experiences. Her faith has been challenged and changed. My life is better because of her lasting friendship. She called me from another continent after my wedding to talk to me (delayed) and check in. This chick showed up at my house when my first kid was six weeks old and held him like she truly loved him. She is strong and fierce. Her value system is set in stone because of the trials she’s trudged through. I am honored to be her friend.

June 7th is celebrated by another friend. This woman held my hand as I tripped through my early 20’s and entered my prodigal season. She saw me for who I was and wanted to be even when I couldn’t quite figure it out. Our paths have crossed and separated. She continues to be someone I touch base with (Words with Friends counts, right?). If I ever get to hear her voice or see her face, it feels that no time has passed. She is and will forever and always be the one that held my hand so tightly when I wanted to let go.

February 28th is at the end of the month, so this friend celebrates all month long…and has for the 20 years I have been honored to know her. We met because she liked that I wore hats. She stayed because I was heartbroken and had absolutely no one in my corner. Every story from fall of 1995 to spring 1997 includes this woman. Even if she wasn’t present for the actual event, my mind inserts her into the story. I slept on her couch after a week of friendship and know that I could sleep there again if I ever needed to. Her life has dealt her some tricky cards including a few jokers but she is facing new challenges like a champ. Her dedication to life and her boys is unmatched and heroic.

October 9. Since I was 11 years old, I have celebrated this birthday. I remember the first time I saw her and thought she was really cool. So for 30 years this incredible woman has been my friend. Even during the prodigal season when I was running and tripping into life, she stayed with me, kept up with me, prayed and loved me well. She pops up at just the right times and continues to bless me with her friendship. For years I have wondered why on earth she would be my friend. I’m very thankful she is more confident in who I am than I am.

December 15th. Just when you’re getting the last of your Christmas shopping done, this friend celebrates her day. This friendship is sporadic and mostly via text. She’s snarky and fun. She sees life black and white. She is brilliant. Keeping up with her intellect is exhausting. She’s an entrepreneur, a teacher, a mother, and a fantastic friend. When she lived close to me, our seasons were mismatched and we weren’t able to find friendship easily. Now that she lives far away from me, I can send a random text and be confident she will be there with a sarcastic response or wise words.

July 15 passes by without me noticing. I found this friend’s birthday on Facebook for this post. Here’s why she makes the list. When my dad first got sick and my life first started falling apart, I found her. She was the person that reached down to me and hauled me out of my prodigal season. She showed me how to mother and wife and church-go without being hypocritical or superior. She loves well and forgets dates. She thrives in chaos when I list-make to survive. She has SO MANY CHILDREN and loves each maniac like a boss. Her life and mine no longer interact but her grip on my hand has never faltered. She believes in me more than I believe in myself and is an ever present reminder that my strife for perfection isn’t necessary beacuse who I am is really okay.

November 15. I have only celebrated with her a few times. But once “July” pulled me from the pits and gave me steady ground, this friend showed me what it looks like to have a dear friend (and group of friends…Holla!). She has similar interests to me. She loves the same music from the past to the present. Her daughter’s friendship with Katelynn has sustained us this summer. She is my adult friend. The one that liked me for who I am now, not because she’s been my friend forever. I treasure her more than she knows.

The beauty of stopping to write all this down is that I have so many more friends that have come to mind. So many more that I want to tell you about. When I starting working on this post, I had two to tell you about. Now there are SEVEN with so many more on the list.

The “secret agent”….the sister….the college roommate….the sisters-in-law….the teacher….the activist….the christian…the atheist….the author….the seller….the boss.

If you’ve met me in real life, it’s quite possible I have told you that I don’t have any friends. It‘s how I feel most days. For years this loneliness plagued me but as I spent the last year analyzing all of who I am, I realized that maybe my friends aren’t right here because there in all kinds of places.

Who is on your list?

    

 

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