Thursday, June 11, 2015

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times

There’s just something about getting together with girlfriends where you share a history.  Ladies who’ve known you for years and know your goods and your bads.  Where you can almost tell what they are thinking just by looking at them.  The connection and sense of belonging - nothing else can beat it.  

Last night, as I climbed into bed I had such a feeling of fulfillment.  (I was suffering badly from my allergies, so this was no small feat)!  Earlier, six of us had  met together to celebrate a belated birthday of our dear friend, Elizabeth.  We are all very busy women and to pull us together can sometimes take a considerable amount of time.  Not for wanting, surely, but simply navigating time when we are all in town and not engaged.  As it was, two friends were unable to make it.  One out of the country visiting her daughter who was preparing to birth twins, and the other unable to get away from work in time.  She cares for the elderly.  Incredibly gifted women reaching out to the needs and joys in their lives at this moment.  They were sorely missed.  

The rest of us greeted each other separately arriving at the restaurant and there was a sense of “this will be fun” and long over-due.  For some reason, probably the end of the school year and great weather, the restaurant was packed.  We were able to grab a table on the beautiful patio and squeezed us all around so we could be close and hear each other.  It was very noisy and the air packed with enthusiasm and a “let-your-hair-down - it’s the end of school and summer is here” feeling!  I am certain three-quarters of the patio was filled with teachers!

We ordered our meals - yes, salads, for all six - it’s what you do at this season of life!  But incredibly delicious salads of grilled meats, vegetables and greens!  And in large bowls - we were happy!  Even as we bowed our heads to thank God for the food, the birthday celebration and our friendships, the noise was beyond loud, but such a peace as we were altogether.  Smiles all around!

Sharing life.  Relaying happy moments with grandchildren.  Upcoming weddings and out-of-country trips.  And stories of miracles and God showing up in other countries and cultures kept us enthralled as we let our lives overlap once again.  We laughed, asked questions and said we needed to be sure and not let the summer get away without doing this again.  A bbq at a home with the husbands and families.  Last night, we connected over salad, shared experiences and our lives that keep moving.  And so much to look forward to in the months and years ahead!  Several adult children not yet married, more grandchildren to come in the future and new seasons of each of our lives yet to be realized.  

I, for one, had a wonderful time.  Connection with women who matter to me.  And I am certain I was not alone in the feeling.  God seems to show up when we take time to let our lives intermingle.   When we are real with one another and just “be”.  Easy to do when you are with people you love and know you can be good, bad or hurting and they will listen, pray and be there.  Last night was one of those times.  I felt good when I left as my heart had been nurtured and fed in a way that only good friends can do.  

My husband and I had also spent last Sunday afternoon sitting in a beautiful vineyard overlooking the fields, enjoying a few hours with very good friends of many years whom we don't see very often these days.  Our children had grown up together and are now scattered all over the nation.  We took time and caught up with their lives and their children.  Again, a wonderful feeling when we parted….let’s do this again real soon!!  We don't see them often enough.

We need connection and more frequently than we realize.  We need community.  We need each other.  And those moments give us the fuel to move onward into the day and week of what we is ahead - back on the battlefield of life.   An oasis in the midst of the busy-ness and chaos of life.  Amazing how God can accomplish that in a very busy, chaotic, over-the-top noisy restaurant on a summer’s eve.

I am extremely blessed to have wonderful ladies and families in my life.  I hope you do as well and not let busy-ness get in the way of you blessing someone’s life and you in turn be blessed…just when you all needed it!


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