Our first holiday in a very long time happened this past weekend. We piled into the car and drove with excitement and expectation and we were not disappointed. What an utter privilege it was to hang out with some of our dearest friends who live a winding road, 5 hours drive away.
Over the 4 nights we got to stay with 3 different families, it was a little whirlwind, but it was really nice. The first friends we stayed with are so special to us. Growing up I was really close friends with the husband, James. I moved away, got married and when I moved back, we had our first wee baby boy and James was getting married to a girl we didn't really know at all. After another move for a few years, we returned and I got to know his wife, and as much as I love James, his wife, Amanda, quickly became one of my closest friends. For purely selfish reasons, I am so glad they got married. They were our first stop this holiday, together we shared, coffee, stories, knowing looks, jokes, wine, the kitchen, coffee, shopping, conversations, sickness, more coffee and lots of love.
I was doing the Beth Moore David study last term, one days homework was on the study on David and Jonathan's friendship. David nutted off at Jonathan at one point, questioning his loyalty, David was scared and pretty much took it out on Jonathan. Do you have someone in your life that can ask you the hard questions in love and you listen and respond without offence? This got me thinking, David and Jonathan's relationship was spiritual, they were both devoted to God, and their friendship was based on a promise. I remember one incident when I was freaking out spiritually, I called my dear friend Amanda and told her what was on my heart, and the challenging and confusing conversations I had with another friend. I ended up crying, Amanda got righteously angry, she challenged me, in love. Some people understand you, really understand you, those kind of friends are priceless. I have had the pleasure of a deep spiritual friendship with Amanda for 7 years.
The next stop was with a long time friendship. Tania and I have been friends for about 25 years. Arh, we are old. She is one of those friends you love, but you certainly keep alert. She is very bright and has a memory like an elephant. Our history consist of her doing and saying the funniest, stupidist things, yet I can never remember them. She on the other hand remembers ever single stupid thing I have ever said or done. Over more than 20 years, it's safe to say we have understood the pain of each others lives. We have seen each other change by our circumstances, in good ways and sad ways. The wonderful thing is our husbands love each other, they may not admit it, but they do, they would probably word it a little differently, but it boils down to man love. Tania and I pick up where we left off, we don't need to phone each other, our husbands have stop freaking about that, they call each other, we don't need to, we know that we will pick up exactly where we left off, just like last time.
Sadly for this get together, we arrived in time for sickness to projectile from our youngest, so it wasn't entirely a beautiful experience. But after the men cooked dinner, and we put the kids to bed, we convinced them to go out on a date, they don't get the opportunity to get babysitters much. What a blessing, giving a couple some time.
While there I read this on their fridge and had to share.
Our plan was to head home, to avoid being a giver with germs. But we couldn't help ourselves, we had one 'quick stop' at another dear friend of mine of 15 years. We became friends after praying together after a youth service, only lifting our heads when we heard the vacuum cleaner at our feet. Greer and I have shared a house, as well as those intensely important, coming of age moments; getting engaged, getting married, announcing a pregnancy, having first babies, moving countries, having last babies, hard roads, long roads. They know things about us that others don't know, we know things about them that others don't know. This friendship has stood the test of hardships, time, so many laughs and way too many treats.
Once we arrived we struggled to leave, despite our wee boy initially being unwell, he perked up, and we all watched the clock tick by enjoying every moment, holding my breath until my husband would stand and say we were leaving. The time ticked by, after much umming and arhing, we all celebrated when he said, we might as well stay the night. So we settled in and hoped the germs didn't spread. Still hoping.
It was a time of sweet communion; sharing life, sharing histories, and sharing love. What a treasure we have in friendships.