Today's "Friday Five" is all about friendship. Now, you may be wondering what in the world these questions about friends, both past and present, have to do with being a minister. But let me share this quote from the RevGalBlogPals entry for today.
"In parish life the boundaries are clear and they are there for a reason, but it can make the life of a minister a lonely one. It is such a tremendous gift to spend a few days with women who not only are wonderful and gifted, but who also get exactly what you do and why you do it. The hugs are genuine and free and the laughter is awesome."
This seems particularly appropriate since I have recently found myself reflecting (quite frequently) on how much I miss the wonderful community of friends I had in Nashville. Don't get me wrong, I love my life. I love my husband and my home and my job. But it is indeed a lonely life because everything is still very new and fresh and I have no idea how to make new friends around here! I have good relationships with other church people (both lay and clergy) but they are still professional relationships and not the same thing.
I am very blessed to have such a wonderful community of friends, even if they are a few hours away. I remember through my first year of divinity school I was so afraid of letting anyone "in". As most of you remember, that was a rough year. And I pretty much had to be forced to let anyone share it with me. Despite my flawed coping strategies (which is a whole other post), I was terrified of making friends and forming relationships. Because I knew exactly what they would mean at the end of my three years in Nashville. They would end with incredible pain. Because I knew I wasn't going to spend my entire life in Nashville. I knew that eventually school would end and we would all go our separate ways. And I couldn't stand the thought of that. I had already gone through too much of that. I didn't want to do it again. I am incredibly blessed to have the friends I have. But make no mistake about it - being away from them absolutely sucks. Thanks to blogs and e-mail and facebook I can keep up with them. But it's not the same as sharing physical space. As breaking bread together. As glancing at one another and bursting into tear-inducing laughter. As wrapping one another in an embrace and saying everything that needs to be said without ever speaking a word.
So here's to you my dear, dear friends! I love you and miss you very much! Please come visit (or let me come visit you!) And to all my potential new friends in the Birmingham area, please come out and let me know where you are! The great thing about great friends is that you can never have too many!
1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life? Yes, her name is Tyler. We were neighbors when we were born and sort of grew up together. We went to preschool together, had sleepovers every week, and did everything but go to school and church together. We really grew apart in about middle school, but reconnected somewhat several years ago. We still keep up with one another through facebook.
2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you? Yes, it sucked the first time and it sucks now. I don't know that it will ever change.
3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'? Absolutely. I don't see them on a regular basis, but that doesn't make them any less my friends!
4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends? Talk and laugh and eat. We do all of these things so well together!
5) What is a gift friendship has given you? Too many to even list - patience, compassion, trust, laughter, tears, hugs, memories, but most of all the knowledge that I am loved and valued!