We are coming to our second anniversary of diving off of the sane and safe path of the suburbs and steady jobs. We are coming to our second anniversary of trading busy lives for the stillness of a farm... one we are just borrowing, with land enough to share. We now have calves outside our bedroom window. They too, are on loan. We are entertained by them, but have no work to do to keep them alive.
Anniversaries are always sentimental times of recounting the losses, the gains. It's the pondering-in-in-your-heart which makes you happy and sad at the same time. Sad for your mistakes. Sad for the things you've left behind. Sad for the time you've wasted. And happy, too. Happy for how you've grown. How you've grown up. How you've grown together.
And then there are things that fit into both categories. Food, for instance. The Tex-Mex I crave sitting on the loss side. The healthy eating I've gained. Bluebonnets traded for peonies.
On the loss side, sits seven letters filled with a thousand memories.
f r i e n d s
Relationships turned long-distance never get easy. They sit in the pit of your stomach years later. And as they should. Yes, memories fade - and your Facebook feed gets filled with locals, but your love is still right there. Right where you need it. Right where it needs to be.
Each move I've made has brought it's own tears of loneliness, isolation, and the idea that friends will never be found. But each time, God gifts me with one-at-a-time people who speak into my life. Lunches and laughter are consumed. Coffee and confessions are poured out. The stranger becomes my friend.
And I'm surprised, yet again. Surprised that God could hand me the life of someone and let me walk beside her.
Today is the birthday of just such one. One who spurs me on towards love and good deeds. One who names my sin and calls me to repentance. One who laughs with me like little school girls playing.
But, more than anything, this friend has a great freedom of today... living life to the fullest at the moment. Loving hard. Exploring hard. Playing hard. Not wasting a minute.
I've needed her to hold my hand as I seek Not My Will But Yours Be Done. I've needed her wisdom and her wide-eyed wonder. I've needed her to address the hardness of my heart and speak Christ into it. Why should I be surprised that God would provide exactly what I've needed.
It's another thing God didn't have to do. It's another thing I do not deserve. It's another thing of God's sweet kindness. It's another thing I need to hold loosely in my hands.
Someday one of us might move. Our paths might go different ways. But, forever I will guard her name with the title of friend.
And I will thank God that on both sides of the lists - the losses and gains, sit the same seven letters.
f r i e n d s