I am amazingly blessed with some very dear friends. I have friends from high school, university, the different communities the dear one and I have lived in, and church friends from the work that I did for the church. These friends have sustained me with prayer, made me laugh, listened to my rants, read this blog, took me out for lunch, had me over for tea, and stood by me when life was just crappy. I am so full of gratitude for these friends of mine.
I have a dream where I could gather my dear friends and have a wonderful weekend together where we drink wine, tell stories, laugh a lot and maybe even cry a few tears. I would love to introduce my friends to each other for I know, because I know them, that they would get along and enjoy each others company. For you see, all my friends live in different parts of the country and I am just starting to make new friends in the community that I am living in right now. It is one of the hazards of being married to a clergy person that you have friends scattered across the country.
When I was a young married person I found it really hard to make new friends. I am by nature mostly an introvert but being in an honorary church leadership role I had to learn that I needed to walk out of my comfort zone and reach out to those I thought might want to be a friend. Sometimes that has worked and sometimes that hasn’t worked.
Friendship in the church can be a tricky thing, particularly when your spouse is a clergy person. You have to discern if the person that you are becoming friends with is going to keep your confidence or if they are trying to get close to you because they want to get dirt on the minister (trust me this has happened to me). I have been fortunate however in finding true friends in the different communities and in the different parishes that we have lived in.
This Lent I am giving thanks for these friends and for friendship in general. Not the sappy friendship that you see in greeting cards but the honest, always there, loving, challenging and delightful friendship – the kind that I have with my friends. So if you have been a friend of mine for decades (you know who you are), a friend of mine for a few years or a recent friend, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your presence in my life and I hope that I have added something to your lives as well.
Be well my friends and know that I will be thanking God for each one of you regularly.