Throwing it way back on this Throwback um… Wednesday.
These are my girlfriends, Brooke and Becky, in 2008. And this is the story of how they became some of my most treasured friends.
Let’s go back to early 2006, okay?
On a Tuesday morning I sat in my Mom’s “pink room” (a super girly spot where she reads her Bible every day) and stared at my parents. My eyes were swollen and puffy from a night full of more crying than sleep, and I had to make a big decision. One of the biggest of my life. I remember saying, “I don’t know what to do” over and over. They prayed for me to have clarity. I didn’t. I had a head full of cobwebs. So I had to rely heavily on their wisdom in that moment. Decisions needed to be made quickly. It was Tuesday, and I was supposed to get married on Friday. There was no time to waste. So as I sat in a daze my parents started making phone calls. I was “calling off” my wedding.
Some of the first phone calls were to my bridesmaids. And their reactions were as different as they were the same. They were sad for me but ready to rally in any way needed. One of the girls wasn’t even in town yet, but at some point they all decided to meet at a friend’s house later that week to get a game plan together. They wanted to help call through the guest list to let everyone know about the cancellation, but my dad said, “This was our party. I’ll make the calls.” (And he did. To several hundred people.) So instead my friends divided up the list and called everyone to see if they wanted their gifts back. Ha! One of those things you never even think about, right? I mean, did you know that was protocol? What a crappy assignment. But they did it gladly. (And only one person wanted his gift back-ha! That still cracks me up!) Then the girls decided they had to plan something on the actual wedding day. So we spent the whole day at the spa and went to dinner that night. I think they took me shopping too. I told them I couldn’t handle a massage (lying on a table alone with my thoughts for 50 minutes sounded like torture), so one of them volunteered to do a body scrub with me. And can I just tell you how painful that thing was?! Have you ever had a body scrub? I do not recommend it! But we laughed through the whole thing, and when I needed her most – she was a friend. And when I broke down that night in the middle of dinner – they were all friends. And when I’d call them crying during the weeks after everything settled down – they were friends. They brought me junk food and movies and took me to do random stuff to keep me busy. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. One more new pair of shoes. :) They gave me advice when I asked for it, listened when I needed to talk (and talk and talk), and just hugged me when I needed to cry.
In the 8 years since that weekend I’ve remained close with most of those girls, but I’m closest to the two in the picture above. We’ve been through so much since then. Several boyfriends, two weddings, new babies – three kids total, vacations, family deaths, and a lot more spa days! They were my first “big girl” friends. Friends I didn’t grow up with; friends I chose. And I’m so thankful for them. They’ve taught me what it means to be a loyal friend who isn’t scared to get down in the messy pit with people they love. One who isn’t scared to make a phone call even though they know there will be tears on the other end and no adequate words to heal the wounds. They’ve taught me that when people you love are hurting you just do something. Anything.
My friendship with these girls has taught me how to be a better friend to others. Instead of doing nothing because “I don’t know what to say” I’ve learned to act when I know a friend is hurting. Sometimes it’s a special delivery of donuts to a friend’s backdoor when she’s having a horrible week. Sometimes it’s a prayer on the phone or a hug when they don’t want to talk. Sometimes it’s babysitting even though I don’t have time. It’s getting messy; because life is messy.
And that’s what friends do.
PS – I wish I could tell you the whole wedding story. Things have come full circle, and while I’ve always trusted God’s plan with the situation he’s allowed me to see the “why.” And I don’t think we get that very often in our faith journeys. I’m so grateful for his grace. Maybe one day I can share more. I really hope so. I know some of you would be so encouraged in the midst of your own struggles. But now isn’t the right time.
PPS – My parents are amazing. If it wasn’t for their support I wouldn’t have had the strength to make a very tough decision. But I wrote a post about them earlier this month. We can’t have them monopolizing my website or anything. :)