Thursday, March 8, 2012

the face of friendship

There is a group of gals from church that faithfully get together for lunch on a Thursday each month. Gather up these fifteen women and there is always a whole lot of laughter and good food and dessert. Always dessert.

Today as I was paying the waitress for my bill, she quietly asked me if there was a particular reason why I was with this group of women. Is one of them your grandmother? She looked down at the table full of ladies with salt and pepper hair and deep set wrinkles.

At first glance, I may not look like I belong. The women around the table have 30, 40, and 50 years on me. They have been married for that long. They are widows. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They wear sweatshirts with bunnies and snowflakes and angels. They are Marilyn, Frieda, Judy, Ina, and Ann.

Our move to Michigan meant forming new friendships. I felt as lonely as one can feel and without hesitation, these women befriended me. I am married to their pastor, but it goes deeper than that. They care and hug me tight and ask questions and remember tidbits and offer advice. They invite me alongside of them and learn my story as I learn theirs. One by one.

My entire life, I've been surrounded my ones dear to me. Best friends and family just up the street or in the dorm room next door. I never had to search hard friendships. I was spoiled and didn't know anything else. And then we packed up and moved to a place where I didn't know anyone. For months after Josh and Josiah and I arrived in this tiny town, I prayed and prayed for a dear friend here. Just one, Lord. I've struggled on this. And now, slow but sure, he's blessing me and friendships have formed. They are still blooming, but they are here and they are wonderful and they are with sweet gals in my own age bracket. 

But all along, they have been here. The ladies with the gray hair and kind eyes and open hearts. They have been my first real friends here. And I adore them for loving me and showing me that age can be thrown out the window. For making me laugh until my side hurts. And for always, always saving me a spot at the table each month. 

I turned to the waitress and answered her question. She nodded and smiled.

They are my friends. 

I smiled back, a whisper of a prayer of thanks on my lips.


sunflower

10 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, Rachel. I'm so happy that you've made these friendships and many more as well.

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  2. I found your blog on Kellys Korner. We also adopted internationally...our daughter Lillian Hope TaoJia is from China and was 5.5 months at referral and 6.5 when we met her in China. She will be 10 in April. I have to say that you have one handsome boy! I can't get over his beautiful head of hair!!

    I was touched and understood your post about giving him Korea. I have felt the same about China. We have always grabbed those opportunities too if for no other reason than to instill a sense of pride in Lilly for being Chinese. The older she gets, the more she resists these opportunities. I don't know if it is age related...or if perhaps she is tired of mom and dad pointing out how "different" she is. At her school of 600 students, she is one of two asians, and there are no african-american students. Sounds horrible when I type that but we live in an outlying area of Pittsburgh, and that just happens to be the norm. We live in the farmhouse on the dairy farm my husbands family has owned for five generations...so it is not an area we sought out. I guess I'm trying to say that I worry about where Lilly's resistance is coming from. We have close friendships with families that look just like ours, they just don't live down the block.

    Give that sweet boy a hug and a squeeze then put a brick on his head! They grow up way too fast!

    I can't remember my goog password, so I have to post as anon. My name is Tracee and I can be reached at tracee @ zbzoom . net

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  3. Such a sweet post!! So glad you have formed these friendships! :)

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  4. O I feel your heart. I moved to California from Tenn and the loneliness was overwhelming. I to prayed send me just one friend, it has been 15 years and he has blessed me richly. We recently gave birth to a stillborn son, and a whole new world of loneliness has opened but I know my God will be faithful to meet this need as well. So nice how ministry opens our eyes to friendships we might of otherwise overlooked. Blessing sent your way!

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  5. So glad I came by and read your sweet story! Hope I can always be one of those "older" women who encourage the younger women, especially during those hectic child-raising years!

    You have a beautiful family and a wonderful blog!
    Thanks for signing up on Kelly's Korner to reach out to us ministry wives!

    Blessings!

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  6. This is the sweetest post, and reminds me of my own life. I've been in the same town for a long time and for various reasons I've had good girl friends come and go from my life. My best ones are scattered across the country. So I have desperately been praying for girl friends near me again that I can connect with. God has answered my prayers through the ladies at my all womans gym. Most of them are older, but I don't care. They have taken me/us (I take my son with me every morning) in and called us their own, and I love them. And they love to do what I love to do, which is LAUGH. Praise God for good girl friends! He does know the desires of our heart.

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  7. I'm visiting from Kelly's blog. I'm a pastor's wife too and can relate to being taken under the wing by older ladies. So glad they made you feel welcome. Loved how you described your relationship. Blessings on your family and ministry.

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  8. Hey! Found you from Kelly's Korner. I am a pastor's wife and am in the praying for a friend stage. We have been at our new church a little over a year. So excited to find you and can't wait to read more!!

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  9. You are so good at telling a beautiful story, and I'm so happy you have these good friendships - no matter the age of your friends!

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  10. How beautiful! My husband and I intentionally go to the old persons sunday school class to be around those sweet people who have so much to offer.

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