Monday, November 12, 2007
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Philemon 7
I went to a small Christian college in the hills of East Tennessee 17 years ago. I certainly received a good education, but more than that gained four wonderful friends who continue to bless, challenge and encourage me.
Maybe it's that we all "grew" up together there- staying up all night, singing, playing sports, going out, breaking up, finding our faith, working, laughing (a lot), being immature yet trying to be responsible, crying, fighting, facing the future, realizing dreams, recognizing failures, eating far too much food, living on a dime, moving in and moving out, visiting each other's homes, forgiving, forgetting, loving...
Our school would be considered stone age conservative by all standards I believe. No co-ed visitors in dorms. Curfews. No alcohol. No smoking. No living off campus. No cars for Freshman. Though many may laugh at this, as we talked about this weekend, we are thankful for it. We had an atmosphere that allowed for growth. Sure each of us did things that we may still regret, but we had a relatively safe environment to discover who we were and to invest in relationships without being confused and bombarded by all the stuff that college campuses may offer.
This year me and my 4 friends Amy, Cindy, Beth and Carrie turn 35. We have known each other for half of our lifetimes!! We work in an Opera House, homes, churches, schools, a hospital, theaters. We read books, know far too much about various TV series and movies, serve in ministries, mentor, marriage counsel, homeschool, act, create, raise 17 children, travel....
Last weekend was a rare occasion where we all met together for a get away. Refreshing does not do justice to what it feels like to get away with such real friends. It is a gift to be with these girls and pick up right where we left off. It is a gift to be able to share our joys and struggles honestly without fear of judgment. It is a gift to sit in a row in church and sing to our Lord. It is a gift laugh, cry, talk, remember and dream with friends again.