I spent the better part of last week on a continuing education cruise with a group of revgals. Both the class on hospitality and the connections made with friends (old and new) were phenomenal. I always have a difficult time with re-entry into reality from times away but this, aided by getting nailed with strep throat, has been more difficult than usual. Not only does it a take a few days (weeks? months?) for it to stop feeling like I am on a boat, but my heart misses my friends.
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.
Many of us have friendships – past and present – with these same qualities. And so today we will celebrate Friday with friendship:
1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life?
My first best friend was Ruby, and my first best boyfriend was my minister's son, David, and they are both in this picture below:
That's the Court Street Baptist Kindergarten in 1965, so I was 4 years old. I'm at the bottom left, Ruby is second from the right on the top row of children, and David is at the top left. After many years of disconnection, Ruby found me via the Internet a few years ago, and much more recently David and I became friends on Facebook! When I saw Ruby again in the summer of 2006, after a break of a dozen years, it felt like we had always been together. She's a very special person to me. I loved going to her house when we were little. David and I had the same birthday (which means we are both going up a notch on Tuesday), and we even had some of our parties together. I remember one in the backyard at his house, particularly. David's mother, who is the beautiful teacher on the top left, was my favorite grown-up in the whole world. I wanted to be her when I grew up. You know…the minister's…wife. 🙂
2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you?
More than once! Ruby might remember that after a six year absence to live in the Washington DC area, my family returned, and I sadly left behind my new best friend, Betsy, also a Facebook rediscovery in the past year. Betsy rode the bus to visit me, and I told Ruby all about her, but in the end, I didn't even introduce them to each other, I think because I was afraid that (a) they wouldn't like each other, or (b) they would like each other better! Silly Songbird.
3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'?
Oh, yes. What's funny is, I thought since I continued to live in City By the Sea after ordination, I would be able to keep up with my pre-ministry friends. But we are living very different lives, and I find my most trusted local friends are also colleagues. Then there is the wider circle, the friends blogging brought to me, not just RevGalBlogPals but so many others. It's been a privilege to meet so many of them in person over the past five years. Yes, I believe I had my first blogger meet-ups five years ago. Amazing.
4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?
I guess the usual things: talk, eat, tell stories, go for walks, oh, and sing! We did some fantastic singing on the cruise last week. It meant a lot to me. I also like to knit with or around friends.
5) What is a gift friendship has given you?
You don't have to be a RevGal to play; if you feel like talking about friendship, please do!