important nothings

The other’s gold

Allow me to tell you about the most life-giving afternoon I’ve had in a long, long time.

In middle school, my two closest friends and I were inseparable. We had several classes together and were on the cheerleading team together, and I simply adored them. I doubt any of us realized at the time how important it is to have good girlfriends, especially during those soul-crushing middle school years. In the words of Jen Hatmaker, we are all just seventh grade survivors, right?

It’s been—deep breath—20 years since then, and life has happened and we’ve fallen out of touch and grown up and started careers and gotten married and had babies. We reconnected at our ten year reunion, promising to get together regularly, which we did!

Exactly one time. Oops.

And then another six years passed, but thanks to social media, we reconnected yet again and decided to go to lunch. We did the hard work of lining up calendars, getting babysitters and work schedules in order, and then we got in our actual cars and drove to an actual restaurant and saw one another’s actual faces rather than just giving a picture a heart or thumbs-up and thinking, “My sweet friend! I wonder how she’s doing now.”

It was fabulous.

All the cliche stuff happened—the picking up right where we left off, the catching up, the nonstop laughter. There was so much nodding and hugging and saying, “I know exactly what you mean,” and there was zero awkwardness because we share this foundation of childhood and 20+ years of friendship, regardless of how much we were in contact during all 20 years, because the love and the caring never went anywhere.

We talked about the fun stuff, like the kids and their never-ending joy and wonder, and we talked about the hard stuff, like watching our parents care for our aging grandparents and knowing it’ll be our turn in just a blink, how we’ve already started some of that now, even. The highs and lows of motherhood, figuring out what we actually want from our careers, observing people who are the way we hope to be (and those who aren’t and how to deal with them), we workshopped all of it.

And then we took out our phones and put our next lunch date on the calendar, a month from now, because we really aren’t going to let another six or ten or however many years slip by.

Can I encourage you to do the same? Technology has made it so easy to keep in touch and to share a picture or a status update, but nothing replaces that face-to-face time that you only get if you do the hard work of lining up calendars (which isn’t all that hard, honestly, and so very worth it). You just might have the most life-giving afternoon you’ve had in a while, too.

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