As your read this I will be unplugged with my best friend on our 20th annual girlfriend getaway. We met in the summer of 1990 at an apartment complex in Los Angeles. We were fresh from college – she from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, me from the University of Iowa. We were stretching our wings. Far from family, friends and all that was familiar. Neither one of us knew anyone in Whittier, the Los Angeles suburb where we landed.
Enter God’s gracious hand in the form of an elderly couple from Kansas who were managing our apartment complex. Our first Sunday they knocked on our doors, invited us to their church and loaded us into their car. Suddenly what had been scary became an adventure as two Midwest girls learned to navigate L.A. together. In the process we became best friends. A friendship that has lasted 26 years and counting.
In the summer of 1995 we both had opportunities to move back to the Midwest and jumped at the opportunity. She to Wisconsin and me to Minnesota. We found the 6 hour drive between our 2 homes challenging. This was before social media or texting so we spent a lot of time on the phone, sent packages back and forth and worked hard to see each other every couple of months. We pulled out a map the following summer and found a quaint river town in Illinois were we could meet part way for a long weekend without the distractions of our jobs, my husband and eventually my daughters who adored their honorary aunt.
Last summer my best friend married for the first time at 48. I was thrilled for her and really liked the man God had brought into her life. They fit like two pieces of a puzzle. But honestly, I felt a little insecure about our annual girl’s getaway weekend. I should have known better. She was there a month after her wedding meeting me again for this important weekend where we connect at a deeper level than our frequent texts, Facebook posts and phone calls. And the new husband? He gets us – thank God – and supports our getaway fully.
Carving this time out is not always easy. We book it months in advance after we get our two calendars together (a major accomplishment all by itself). I have left infants at home and pumped breast milk while I was away. There have been times when one or the other of us could not afford it and the other one paid. There was one particularly difficult weekend when I was buried with toddlers and a new business. My best friend was a single career woman at the time and we didn’t seem to have much in common anymore. But 3 days away, just the 2 of us, allowed us to work through that and come out stronger on the other side.
God created us for relationship. Not just with Him but with each other. In the chaos of your everyday life and busy schedule one of the best investments of time you can make is in building friendships with the women around you. After 26 years my best friend and I have developed a short hand in our conversations. We can tell by the tone of our voices over the phone when one of us is happy or sad, scared or excited.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 tells us that two are better than one because if one falls down the other can help them up. If you have a friend like this in your life today thank God for them. If you don’t, ask God to bring that person into your life.
Precious Father – Thank you for the gift of friendship. Help us to be the friend to others that we hope to find ourselves. May we make building friendships an everyday priority Lord. Amen.