I didn’t find my friends; the good God gave them to me.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~
This weekend, I hosted one of two annual traditions – a Christmas dinner party – for a special group of women in my life. We first met in 2003, when we traveled to Belgium for a Joints in Motion marathon for the Arthritis Society. Some have done multiple races together. One has participated in 10 marathons since the first. The rest of us root her on.
Sometimes our schedules make gathering difficult; sometimes we cannot be together at once (like Saturday), but we always try to make it work and when we do, it seems no time has passed. We are, interchangeably, the Fab Five, Sensational Six or Seven.
Although we come in all ages, temperaments, body types and careers (an occupational therapist, a chef, an office manager, a healthcare executive, a pharmacist, an event planner, a writer), sharing that single experience connected us in a profound and enduring way.
We share triumphs and failures; we laugh and listen; we advise and empathize; we whine and complain. We cry. We celebrate. We accept our differences. We compete for talk time. We plan cruises and vacations that we never seem to have time to take.
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
~George Eliot ~
We have amassed quite a collection of group photos, a scrapbook of fluctuating hair styles and colours, fashions and body sizes. A pictorial timeline of our mid-life journey. Someday, we will laugh heartily over all of them. We have special phrases – ‘Press Harder!’ – that trigger memories.
I believe we were meant to find each other. That the interweaving of our lives is strengthening each of us in some small or great, some simple or profound way. And that someday, when we look backward on the Creator’s design, we will know exactly why and which role each played.
After they left, my husband said, “This special thing you girls share, I hope you hold on to it and never let it go.”
He is right.
Some things are worth hanging on to.
This week’s grateful pleasures:
291. a meal and candles among friends
292. unwrapping the special Christmas decorations, and the memories and people associated with each
293. witnessing (and cheering for) a friend’s successful scriptwriting debut
294. tinsel-thin streaks of morning sunlight
295. a single eagle, soaring free
296. the season of Belgian chocolates
297. Olivier’s vitamin E and carrot soap
298. Attending the annual Nutcracker dress rehearsal (with the visionary lady who started it all!)
299. castles of frosted earth; natures’ turrets and towers
300. the brilliance of December’s Cold Moon, full and shining on us all.