I think that God often will send you a core group of friends- people who will always be your friend even if you haven't seen them or spent time with them in years. I have 4 friends who I feel that are my "core"- and maybe I'll make more as time goes on...who knows?
My husband is one of those friends. We met when we were four and have been close ever since There have been many many seasons in our frienship, times when we were inseperable and times when we only talked a few times a year. But in the end we were such "kindred spirits" that we came to a point where we couldn't imagine life with out the other, so we decided (with some "prodding" from God- Ryan describes it more like a sudden jolt of realization "bam!") that we should take the dive and spend the rest of our lives together in a covenant friendship, marriage.
I've been thinking a lot about the circles and seasons of friendship...Seasons are such beautiful things! I've always loved the change of seasons- specifically the change that comes at the start of Autumn. But in friendships... It's amazing to me, how you can go through such a close time with someone. Your times together are amazing, every thing about your conversations "click", and you come away from visits feeling deeply refreshed.
And then there are seasons where things are just THERE. You love the friend, and really enjoy time together but it's not ...the only word that comes to mind is, "electric". Your times together are good, nice, and often very comforting. But you don't walk away shaking your head in wonder. Ya know?
And then there are seasons that you have very little contact with the person. Life is just moving so fast and when you do get a chance to talk there really isn't much to say. You aren't clicking, and you miss the old times, the long conversations about every thing nad nothing... It's a sad time in friendship. But it's a season and if that person is really one of "those" friends you know that eventually - even if it's 15 years down the line- you will always have a special place in your heart for them,and maybe one day God will bring your hearts back to the same place- another season of "clicking" and growing and learning from eachother.
I just had a really refreshing time with an old friend. A friend who was probably my closest friend when I was in late elementary/early middle school. It was a new season of my life Ryan (the future hubby) had left - his family moved away- and I was at loose ends.
A and I had been good buddies since 3rd grade and around 5th or 6th grade we became really close. She was my friend for secrets and laughter. Boy, could we laugh! Things changed as we enterd 7th or 8th grade- We remained good friends, but things were changed. It's just the way it was. In late highschool we had some lovely drama that involved a boy... As A would say "that was so dramatic, but true story...true story." :0)
We weren't close after that, we were busy in other areas of life...Very very different things were happening to us. The "college" years for me were hard...I wasn't going to school but walking through losing a dream, at the precipice of jumping off the deep end, and walking (trudging) through a 2 year battle of brain cancer with my Dad. A was going through college and we weren't really close. We'd run into eachother at things and chat and hug and I loved her...But it was a silent season.
I got married, 8 weeks later my Dad died, I went through a hard hard first couple of years of expieriencing my first grief and trying to learn how to live as a wife. And then we started a family.
A and I recently reconnected, and we have been shocked at how much we have in common...It really doesn't make sesne! From the outside we have absolutely nothing. She broke off a long engagement a year ago, is single and teaching full time. I am married with all the responsabilities that involves, and a busy stay at home Mommy to (soon to be) two little ones.
And yet... And yet we laugh like we used to, so hard and so long that I'm sure that if I was any further a long I would go into labor. We talk and share our hearts... Hearts that are so similar- which seems impossible for two people that are in such different places in life. She edifies and encourages me in ways that I don't think another "Mommy friend" could. Today she said some thing that absolutely blessed me. She was telling me about how she and her other singley friends were hanging out the other night and her one friend (married- but you'll understand what I mean by singly) was sharing about how she never ever wants to have kids. I know this person and I see this comment as her just not being ready for the thought of babies- and who knows some people never do have kids by choice (I can't fathom or imagine this kind of person coming to this decision but that's not my job) ... Anyway her friend was sharing that she doesn't like babies, doesn't want the responsablity and just doesn't think she could handle it. A piped up that she realizes how self centered the single life is. She said "My life involves me, it's all about ME, I don't have to worry about any one BUT me. I see H with her pregnant belly and little girl and how much work is involved in caring for another human being. And I just think 'whoa! How do you give that much of yourself? To be fully and totally responsible for another person- it takes so much!'"
I'm not writing this to toot my own horn, because honestly I don't feel like I do enough as a Mom. I always feel likeI'm falling short, or going to miss some important absolute need and wound my babies. But it was so encouraging to hear A see that about my "job" in life and say it that way. Hanging out with other Mommy's we all sing that same (or think under neath every conversation- or at least this Mommy does), "I am not doing enough" or "I must be doing some thing wrong" tune. It pretty much starts from the time the lines appear on the pregnancy test- Am I eating well enough? Am I being too stressed- is it hurting the baby? Am I? Do I? Will it hurt...?
I have been really struggling in the friendship department. I don't have many SAHM friends, and it's really hard to find a SAHM in my area that has the same values and experiences I have. I feel isolated and alone. Having a challenging high needs toddler (whose needs change from day to day- and rarely seems fully satisfied with my greatest effort) ..Well its' HARD, and it's EASY to be hard on myself. I'm just so thankful for circles in friendships, that God rekindled this unlikely (at least from my view point) friendship to encourage me. To help me see that even what I feel is my worst effort- is really a big deal and important. And seems impossible and crazy committed to some one not in my shoes.
I'm so thankful for this season in our friendship. So thankful for this lesson that I don't have to be in the "same place in life" to learn from and enjoy some one's friendship.
hehe in a side note, when A and I were talking about changes in friendships and how they are like circles... I was sharing about my core friendships and how Ryan has always been in that group- he was the first! I then said - well now that we're married our friendship doesn't really go in the same kind of circle anymore. "It's more of a long line with little squiglies here and there" This cracked us up. A piped up "Yeah, I can see by your belly you two have been going through a VERY distant season." ...Maybe you had to be there.
I'm not sure how I would define marriage- the squigly line isn't quite right but intertwining circles aren't really it either. I mean, there are definite seasons, especially once you are a parent- thigns are just different for you with a newborn in the house... Different with toddlers running around- and I would imagine extremely crazy different when you are parenting teenagers. That for another post I suppose- that little conversation just made me laugh.