Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ah-mazing friends

There's nothing like being with your friends who knew you when...
- knew you when you never could make that 8 am class on time
- knew you in your first home away from home - sharing in the reality that no parents lived in this apartment
- knew you when you struggled through the dilemma of whether or not to cheat on that poly sci test
- knew you as you navigated the swells and pitfalls of friendships and dating and wearing the right fraternity t-shirts
- knew you as you untangled lines of prose and poetry, wrestled with the inerrancy of scripture, and wondered why in the world a literature degree necessitated college algebra
- knew you when the crush revealed much more than puppy love, yet didn't lead to Mr. Right
- and then knew you when the crush DID lead to Mr. Right!

These are the friends who knew me when.
About 15 of us recently gathered at an East Texas lake house for our annual Baylor girls reunion. Depending on how you count it, this was our 15th year. We've celebrated marriages and births and careers and adoptions, as well as mourned marriages and babies and the loss of parents.

"We'll do this every year!" It was a naive agreement from half a dozen recent college grads standing on the brink of new careers and graduate schools and moves across the country, with a few sparkling engagement rings adding to our zeal for what the future might bring.

But 15 years have whizzed past, and one treasured weekend each spring finds this group nestled in some living room in Texas or Arkansas or Colorado or California. The same girls, the same stories that buckle us into laughter... perhaps a bit embellished from year to year.

"I don't ever feel like an adult when we get together." My favorite quote of the weekend, I think from Kirsten. Nearly twenty years have passed since we all met, but our weekends together invariably erase them in a blink.

A decade and a half of post-college "life" allows for some turns and transitions. We've maneuvered through tensions that naturally arise from deep friendships - figuring out what our individual marriages look like, setting up our real adult homes with some of us putting down roots, some of us more nomadic, and figuring how how to follow our friendships after college and into our 20's and 30's, not too far from 40's. We've navigated how to share when it's been a difficult year or two (or five); what it means to be single amidst marriage and baby talk; going through a season of unemployment while others are reaping benefits of established businesses; and simply sharing the joys and disappointments in each others' lives.

A couple of our friends who have been through difficult seasons have reemerged after a few years under the radar. What it communicates to me is their willingness to share their lives and in turn give us a model of what it looks like to persevere through a rough patch. It also communicates the depth of these friendships, that they mean something to us all, and that what we have is a gift not to be taken lightly.

Something that struck me this year is how many entrepreneurs we have. Kristin's Kristin's Creations, Molly's Tbox, Jill's Common Grounds (and soon-to-open wine bar!), Kirsten's Raven & Lily, Jen's Eagle Ear, and I haven't even gotten to Nan's IT startup, Kelly's calligraphy, and Alli's jewelry. It's not even so much that these are savvy business women (some are), but more so, these women are over-the-top creative and gifted, and blessed with people in their lives who support them in building their dreams. Really cool.

I always leave reunion with one question - why do I even get to be a part of this group? In God's sovereignty, He put Molly and me in the same welcome week group (with Corbin as our leader!!), and allowed me to become heart friends with Jude that first semester of our freshman year, who introduced me to Jessica and Kirsten and Michelle, who introduced me to Kristin and Cammi and Nan... and real quickly I realized I was out of my league. Even in those early college years, I was overwhelmed with who the Lord provided in roommates and close girlfriends.
I'm still overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed, and already looking forward to next year.
Love you girls!

Check out our Raven & Lily necklaces
Jessica & Kristin
Jen & Jill
Aimee & Kristin
Precious little ones! Nan & Kate, Jude & Ava

Kristin, Cammi & yours truly
Anybody seen a white SUV?
Thanks for hosting, Jilly!