Growing up

Have you ever noticed that everyone has a story?

No, seriously.  Everyone.  I am almost 39 and I don't know anyone who hasn't had a traumatic experience happen to them at some point.  In fact, most people I know have had MANY traumatic experiences happen to them.  And yet...

Here we all are, rolling along in life.  That is kind of amazing.

I have found, after growing up a bit, that the way that God reveals to each of us the beauty of others is through friendship.  

I talked about three significant friends of mine a couple of weeks ago in this post.  

Today I want to talk about three other significant friends of mine.  Again, I will use examples from three different time periods in my life.

We'll start off with Kacy.  Yeah, yeah, I know she is my sister, but we are actually step-sisters and we are 3 months and 15 days apart (I'm older, which was significant when we were younger in my head, but now I wish that were reversed).  We met when we were around four.  She brought over one of those bouncing ball things that you sit on.  The name escapes me.  She was really shy and I have never been shy (not even ever) and we were so sympatico.  I spent every summer with Kacy after that, since my dad married her mom.  Summers in Utah were awesome.  Especially since I would have spent them otherwise in Phoenix.

We didn't have any money so we were creative.  Correction: Kacy was creative and I went along with everything.  You would think that since she was the shy one that I would have been the leader, but I was so not.  I followed her everywhere.  Except for that one time when we played truth or dare, but we won't discuss that further.  She introduced me to the following:

Adventure people
Playing in the ditch
Playing army
Playing Indian
Playing restaurant with an ironing board and Monopoly money
Playing dolls with hot water bottles
Spit (the card game)
Days of Our Lives
The Monkeys
Most of the music I ever listened to (and that is still true)

Later in life she got less shy and less weird, but she has reverted back to the old days and doesn't like people (except she really does), and she is really funny, but that has never changed.  I still want to be her (only me) and I have been heavily influenced by her for about 35 years.

My Sophomore year of college I met my Bestie, Loree.  We were brought together by two things - our mutual friend, Andrea, and our mutual love of 90210.

We also loved 44 ounces of anything carbonated.

Our friendship did eventually evolve, and we started doing other things like going to movies and watching Melrose Place.  See - evolution of a friendship.  We were friends until we graduated and parted ways - she went to St. George and I went to Virginia.  But, we always had Andrea.  Sidenote on that: Andrea is my longest running consistent friend that I am not related to.  We are going on 29 years.  

In 2002 when I got married, Andrea sent me Loree's address because she was living in Salt Lake and could come to my reception.  Loree was about six months pregnant.  Our sons are about 7 months apart.  I work fast.  Anyway, so we kept in touch after that and then I moved to Utah and she built a house across the street and it was bliss until the big meany up and moved to Arizona leaving me high and dry.  I'm not bitter and I have definitely gotten over it after almost five years (except I haven't).  Just before moving she threw a wrench into my life and had a baby girl (who is three months and 11 days younger than my baby girl) and there went my bestie, my son's bestie (her son) and my daughter's future bestie!

I'm still in recovery over this as you can see.

When I moved to Virginia, I started going to dances a lot.  At least every third Friday (they were called the Third Friday Dances).  At one of them, I remember meeting Lauren (I call her Lizzie).  Lauren grew up in the very very far backwoods of somewhere in Maryland.  I never heard her mention the name of the actual town until I needed her address.  I just thought the whole place was called after the county because that's how they roll.  Apparently not.  The first time Lizzie and I really hung out was one rainy Saturday.  We were supposed to be laying out getting a tan, but instead we ended up at the mall or something and by the end of the day we had all decided to find a townhouse and be roommates.  It's a little fuzzy.

When you hang out with someone and live with someone, you start to take on each other's mannerisms.  People thought that Lizzie and I were somehow related.  Remember Seinfeld's "yadda yadda yadda"?

Lizzie has one of those.  Mid-story she stops and says, "And....yeah."  

She also loves the color purple and the funniest thing I ever heard her say was in regards to when a friend of ours got implants. 

That is another story (but, a funny one).

Lizzie and I lived together until I got married and then she got married and now we both have two kids and call each other every few months to commiserate over why we ever thought being a stay at home mom would be easier than going out to eat several times a week, scrapbooking and watching movies.

Each of these women (along with countless others) have had a specific and dramatic impact on my life at some point.  They all have stories.  In fact, they all have difficult stories.

So here is my point.  I have a difficult story as well.  However, I have been blessed with amazing friends and family that have pulled me through those difficult times.  Which reminds me of this poem by C.S. Lewis: 

In Friendship...
We think we have chosen our peers.
In reality a few years difference
in the dates of our births,
a few more miles between certain houses,
the choice of one university over another...
The accident of a topic being raised
or not being raised at a first meeting--
any of these chances might have kept us apart.
But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, 
no chances.
A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work.
Christ, who said to the disciples
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."
Can truly say to every group of Christian friends,
"You have not chosen one another,
but I have chosen you for one another."
The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating
and good taste in finding one another out.
It is the instrument
by which God reveals to each the beauty of others.

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