What does true friendship look like?
I was driving through another rainy, fall day to Lisa’s house only a short five minutes away, it was like any other day. Although this time I was going to rescue my friend and her husband because they both had the flu at the same time. We can only imagine as moms, when we are sick, the chaos that can ensue in the house. Forget organized, healthy dinners; we are simply glad for our spouse to feed them cereal and put on a TV show. Our grand plans get put on hold until mama is better.
My friend and her husband were now experiencing the flu full on at the same time. They have an uncanny knack to get sick on their anniversary and whenever they try to get away for some couple time. It has become a long-standing joke. On this rainy fall day, I drove over to give them couple time – time to be sick together. It is one of those stories at the time you know will be funny some day!
As I loaded up the two girls, I heard her call to me. “What if you get sick?” “Ah well”, I replied. “We will all get it eventually anyway”. Because when you are that close you simply pass these things between families. And we did. The next week we had it!
There is a point in every friendship when you reach the point of no return.
You are in for the long haul. I find it surprising how life puts us together with people that become inexplicably entangled in our lives. My meat-pie, BBC, craft-loving, Aussie friend Lisa has been that friend that you can’t really remember when it all began, just that she has been there. When the call came, my friend and her husband had the flu on that typical rainy Seattle day. It was like any other day. Yet that was the point of no return. When like in marriage, you are fully committed because the thought never crosses your mind NOT to help your friend. Weighing the cost-benefit analysis and asking the question “what will I get in return” ceases to be a factor in what you do. Best friends.
Lisa grew up on a farm in Australia. I grew up in the Midwest in United States. I have one sibling. She has four. We came to be friends when my oldest son and her 2nd daughter were babies. However, in telling stories of growing up I feel like she was a part of all my stories because now she is my story. Our youngest girls are only 5 days apart and are besties as well. It seems so right. It just is the way we do life together. We dream of seeing London together, sipping on coffee, being fully rested and sharing stories without interruption. It is our plan.
Plans have a way of changing. The way my Aussie friend calls me and still recants stories with her accent and “funny” words is comforting to hear. I’m amazed at the cultural differences between our childhoods’, yet we find so many funny moments in the craziness of life now. Her Christmas was always in the summer. So sometimes in the hot summer days I can hear her humming Christmas songs. We can quote movie lines to each other and love to laugh. Over Thai or Indian Food we can also solve the world’s problems. Yet Indian food will not fix this new situation. The moment my life was impacted came a few weeks ago. My friend shared the news that her family is relocating to the Midwest. Leaving Seattle. Leaving the easy rhythm of our lives.
Impromptu girl’s nights out, pedicures, coffees, rescuing each other from our kids when life gets just that much out of control, has been a part of the easy rhythm of life. Now as I talk on the phone and hear her voice, I try to hold back that big lump that is in the back of my throat. The one that is caught between the excitement of new things to come for my friend and the loud moan waiting to be released that says, “Seriously! Really! Enough! Anything but this! “In the world of video conferencing and texting, I know talking will be easy and even more intentional. A growing intentionality is good for a friendship. However, the thought of it all is like ripping the security blanket from a baby and seeing him scream.
So what then becomes our new normal? How do you find a new way of doing life together?
The possibilities are endless. Maybe now that trip to London is our escape. Through change we find intentional relationship. Because after all, the one thing my friend has taught me in all these years is how to truly embrace the crazy.
A genuine relationship, obviously, is made up of two people committing themselves to one another. Whether it is a long-standing friendship or a newly developing, it is not about the season.