I moved two days before the 8th grade started so for the longest time I didn't have the lifelong friends that everyone else seemed to have--the "we've known each other since 4K" kind of thing. So it wasn't until I moved to Atlanta, keeping in touch and living with/near college and a handful of high school friends did I finally have that history with people. And after living in the close quarters of a dorm room and sorority house and 12 girls in 3 adjacent apartments; I felt like we had done a lot of living with each other.
AND I LOVE THESE GIRLS! They mean so much to me! So when I married and moved to Charleston, I wondered if I would ever have people that I felt that comfortable around. Besides, I was no longer living right next door--I met people but the amount of time I was able to spend with them was much less than the kind of free time you have in college or those single, working years. Naturally, I worried that I was now 5 hours away from the only close friends I would ever have. I remember after moving, praying for just one good friend.
(Fast forward 5 years)
Saturday night some friends gathered together in celebration. As usual, I came home with an empty stomach and sore jaw. I must have said "Good to see you, I really need to go" about 15 times before getting sucked back into another conversation that was just to good to leave. So on my way home, I had this energy (not the nervous kind that usually resonates through my body) but of gratitude and excitement. Because one friend and I got to talking about how much these other families meant to us and how over the years we've all shared in joy and tragedy with equal support. And the energy I had sprang from the good conversation--not of gossip or competition--but of support and encouragement and enthusiasm over each other's families and jobs and faith. And I felt that at the root of every conversation was the heart of Jesus. And after all this time here, I realized that good friends don't drop from the sky to your doorstep but are a result of work and experience. I hadn't even realized I was doing it but for 5 years, my faith has been nurtured in such a way that I have surrounded myself with people that build me up and give good advice and as Bert said the other day "keep us accountable."
5 years ago on the way to a pilates class at a new gym in a new town, I said I would be happy if I could make one good friend. And after that class, one girl invited me to a small group. And this morning we left the gym together again laughing over the events of this past weekend. And just like that, I had done some living with a new set of people who I love.
* Of all ironies, I found this on the web today. Think I'll add it to my reading list.