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I sat around the table from my old friends last night, after quite a long while since seeing them. Too long. Some of these friends have been in my life for 40 years, but all have been a part of it for over 35. We did the craziness of high school together, and then followed it up with the craziness of life.

After I spilled my own news, catching everyone up on the big stuff, I sat over my dinner and listened to theirs. In my mind’s eye we all look the same as we did, but I stepped back last night and allowed myself to see the years, and life experiences, etched in our faces. Two of us are grandmothers with a third to follow this summer. The youngest of our children is 16. We are all still married to original spouses except one, but her first was so long ago (and so short) it doesn’t count. 😉 Our conversations have changed over the years from a focus on pregnancy and early childhood, to who all has made it through menopause alive. And we’ve walked through the deaths of two of our own…together.

My heart always feels full when I leave their company. Things have changed, certainly, but at the core, not really. I think that’s because we’ve changed along with them, allowing each other the room to ebb and flow over time. Friendships get ruined that way, you know. Relationships of all kinds, really. If we keep a person right where we met them, with no space for change, the flower of the relationship will wither and die, choked completely out by unrealistic expectations. But with space…ahh, with SPACE…you have the same flower, but it grows and expands into a whole beautiful plant.

With the fragrance of that fine old vine lingering, still, this morning; I’m thankful. We may have some scarred, gnarly places wrapped around the fence posts of our lives together, but the six of us together still bloom.

 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV