Last night I went to dinner with my friends Olga and Cristina, for a belated birthday celebration for Olga. We started as dance moms, but have evolved into friends who are there for each other in joy and sorrow. (Our daughters have been dancing together since they were three years old.) Our time together was filled with laughter, tears, and sharing stories of how to navigate life as forty-something wives, mothers, career women trying to be healthy and whole. At one point, we went around the able and shared three things--separate and apart from our roles as mothers--that we are grateful for. When it was my turn, with teary eyes, I shared that I was grateful for their friendship.
Eight years ago, hubby and I lived here in New Jersey, but my LIFE was in New York. I had no people here, certainly no friends. Six years ago, when Big Girl was born was one of the loneliest periods of my life. I was knee deep in nursing and diaper changes, which can be an isolating endeavor in and of itself, and could no longer get to my people with ease. Five years ago, we joined a church, but I still had no people here. Of course, the congregation cared for us, but they didn't really know me and I didn't know them. Four years ago, I started my Clinical Pastoral Education Chaplaincy Internship, and I started to feel connected. Around the same time, I became actively involved in Black Girls Run and made connections. Fast forward to today...by the amazing grace of God, I not only have connections, but I have real friends here who will stand their ground with me, speak life into me, correct me, support me, pray for me, and show up for me. I have dance mom friends. Clergy friends. Running friends. None of whom really need a qualifier. They are all my friends.
Ten years ago, I never would have thought this possible. It's not that I'm not friendly or invested in friendship, because I am. Although geographically distanced, my most cherished relationships are with sisters I have been friends with for 30, 20 and 15 years. I love my friends and thrive in friendship. What I could not see was having friends here in New Jersey, women who I would come to know and love and show up for in the same way they show up for me. And where I was parched and longing for friendship before, having friends here has been refreshing to my soul.
So my testimony on this Testimony Tuesday is that I am grateful that God has blessed me with friends here. I am grateful for the connections that were made and deepened in ways I could not have imagined. And I pray that I am and will continue to be as wonderful a friend to them as they are to me.