April 23, 2012

The dearest friends

Sometimes, there are friends so dear that you are willing to wake up at 5:00am on a Sunday morning even though you never wake up that early. And you will get in a car and drive two hours a way to the smallest town ever just to go to church and get hugs from them.  Because you know by the end of that day, you will have been seen and known and enjoyed.  And those are the kinds of friendships that are just wonderful and keep us going when we get tired or just want to give up on everything.

Yesterday was one of those days that I woke up at 5:00am just to drive a few hours away.  Because those friends are just that dear.

It happened to be the one year anniversary of where we found each other in the Dallas airport and realized we were not only on the same Michigan-bound flight, but headed to the same place for the week.  A training conference with Open Hearts Ministry.  It was one year ago that a beautiful friendship started.

I had known George and Paula in high school when I attended the church he pastored.  After many years had passed, we ended up at the same church they attended after George retired.  Though we had only been  acquaintances to that point, our airport reunion and experience in Michigan, knit us together in a way that I never could have imagined.  All of it felt like this sweet, precious gift.

Perhaps what I love most, is being so deeply known by a couple who had known my mother before she became an alcoholic - when she was beautiful and when she was the mom that I see in my memories. There aren't many people who know my story that also knew my mom.  The friendship they had with her years ago felt healing and comforting for these places in my soul where I carry all of the feelings and emotions about who she is and was to me.  For almost a year, we enjoyed connection and shared meals and talked about real life.  They were a source of encouragement to both Todd and me and our marriage together. 

But then, George and Paula moved away early this spring.  Their son took a pastoral position in a small Texas town a few hours away and they followed him there.  It felt like the finale of losses for me. Where another wonderful friendship was going to change because of distance and because God is always moving in us. 

Thankfully they didn't move too terribly far away, which is why a road trip was most definitely in order.

We took in some beautiful views near Marble Falls.  As I looked out over the ledge, it reminded me of how much I love being near the water.  I always feel most like me when I'm near it.  The greens of south Texas trees met the blue shores of the water, the ripples on its surface from the perfect breeze that blew all day - the whole scene just filled me with peace and put to rest all of the places in me that have felt stressed and overwhelmed.
After the three of us went for coffee, Paula and I went out on our own to have some lunch together.  We got to eat on the deck of a restaurant that overlooked the water.  We ate our salads and talked about life and marriage and relationships and ministry and places we both felt hope.  Everything about it was sweet and life-giving.  I missed her and the unique friendship we have shared even more after the day was done and I was headed back home.
It was worth it though.  The early wake up call.  The drive.  The gas money.  The time away from my family.  The dearest, best of friends always are.


  1. I love this story, I love how you met.

    I know its woven with bitersweet, however, it's still wonderful.

    There is no such thing as distance or cost to great when it comes to seeing those we love, just sayin'

  2. Those sorts of friends are absolutely priceless.

  3. :) so glad they are near enough. you spent that day WELL