“What? You, too?”

 

“You moved here from Peru?  Wow!  That’s quite a culture change.” (hear awkward pause and laughter)

“Oh, not Peru the country… Peru, Indiana.  I guess you can tell that I’m not from around here.”

So began a 6 years and counting friendship with a woman I now love like a sister.  She brings laughter and depth and passion to my life like few other friends have.  She loves Jesus, and her husband, and her kids so deeply.  Knowing her makes me want to love Jesus, and my husband and my kids more.

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The three of us — freshman roommates at Pepperdine — planned out our whole lives together. We would graduate, get married, have kids and all live in the same cul-de-sac together.  Well, everything but the cul-de-sac has come to pass and I’m so grateful for the life we’ve shared together — boyfriend break-ups, traveling in Europe, weddings, breast cancer.  Sometimes I still pine for those nights spent on the top bunk when life was simpler.

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“Ladies, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”

Oh, we did it again, closed the Panera on 96th Street.  The hours are never long enough when “Us Girls” get together.  We laugh and cry and pray — we challenge each other to love our husbands and children well.  We celebrate graduations and weddings and small victories in weight loss.  The questions these girls ask me…  Like hitting a nail on its head, they drive home the point that God is asking me to embrace.  It’s uncomfortable — and life giving.

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“Hey Jules, come check out this lamp.”

“Oh wow, this is a comfortable chair!”

“Should I get these glasses?”

Garage-saling is a great way to get to know new friends.  You learn a lot about a person by what she finds worth dishing out a dollar for.  So, last Saturday, piled in a slick red mini Cooper, I bonded with two new girlfriends.  Memories were made. Laughter was shared.  I know I have much to learn from these two.

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Friends permeate my life.  Like an infection, they get into my blood and change me.

Probe.  Ponder.  Point.

Not in a mean, prying, invasive kind of way.  Just by living their lives, they infect.

CS Lewis spoke of the love between friends as a spark between me and another who finds interesting what I find interesting, but that I didn’t guess that anyone else did.  He says that “what draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth.  They share it.”

With my friends, I share parenting, ministry, farmer’s markets, music, history, cooking, books, health, exercise, shopping, good food, gardening, faith, nail polish…

I become connected to a living, breathing human being by sharing a love for A Tale of Two Cities or shoe shopping or hydrangeas.  I’m no longer alone.  I recognize an other.  Our stories entwine.  The way she sees and experiences that common interest prompts me to see and experience it in a new way.

How dull life would be without friends, so mundane, so predictable, so vanilla.  They bring out stuff in me I didn’t know was there.  I process life with them.  They make me a better wife, mother, daughter, teacher, follower of Jesus…

I’m infected with friendship and I’m blessed.