Early last evening my phone rang. When I answered I heard the voice of a very dear friend. "Hey, you posted a comment on the blog of a friend of mine at 4:37 this morning!" That was all it took for a long phone conversation to follow and plans made to spend time together - doing some very fun things. We talked and dreamed and planned and scheduled. This friendship began quite a few years ago. She was my boss. Unlike any boss I had before or since. I tell her that she spoiled me and no boss after her could compare. And I did compare them all to her! She was caring and understanding of the people under her supervision. She knew how to make a dark day bright. Sometimes roses from her garden for each desk. Sometimes a time away from the office for coffee or lunch. Sometimes just a few minutes alone in her office to ask how things were going. Then I left the company and soon she did too. That's when our friendship really began. Cemented for life. She moved out of state - minutes away from the college where our son attended. There were times I stayed at her home while having a mother-son college weekend. Times later to just visit and be together. Through her moves to several other places we stayed in touch. We have dreamed and made big plans together. Talked of going into business together. Thrifted and antiqued together. Just a wonderful friend. Once again she lives close to me. And we have plans. Scheduled-on-the-calendar plans. We love spending time together.
One of my dearest friends has been a kindred-spirit friend since college days. We sat on each other's beds in our dorm rooms and laughed and dreamed and cried. We often sat in my dorm room where we could look from my big window across into the windows of an adjacent classroom building and watch and 'dream' of a certain young man or two as they unsuspectingly sat in class. When our college days were over we continued our friendship by phone and letters. We married within months of each other and were in each other's wedding - a special honor to be together as we each walked into the future with the loves of our lives. Through the years we shared the births of our children, the adventures and sorrows of life. Then came email! Oh, how that changed our friendship. Every day contact was possible. And it continues. We share our joys and sadness. Frustration and excitement. Hopes and dreams. Pictures and precious gifts. One gift - this friendship calendar - sits by my computer and reminds me each day of the wonderful gift of friendship.
Another dear friend who lives nearby has a very special place in my heart. She is a remarkable lady and a friend who loves dearly. A friend who never fails to drop a note in the mail to say thank you. Or 'I miss you'. Or 'I'm praying for you'. I met her many years ago when my now-grown children were very young. At a really tough time in my life. She was there and her friendship was like an anchor in a storm. She taught a Bible study at our church and it seemed each week what she shared and how she applied it was just meant for me. We moved away and lost contact for a time. Then, a few days before my dear father died she walked back into my life. When I needed her most. She was the Hospice chaplain and she was there for us during another tough time. Our friendship was rekindled and has grown stronger than ever before. Years ago she began a ministry that touches the hearts of people all through the Portland area. She asked me to join her on the board of a special part of her ministry and I was honored. Beyond words. Friend To Friend is a monthly dessert fellowship time just for women. For the purpose of helping women make and enjoy friendships. She makes it a special time and there is no end of fun, laughter, hugs and encouragement. And often tears. Tears as we love and support each other through tough times and in the happy times. We enjoy good food, beautiful centerpieces and table settings, lots of fun door prizes and always a special speaker who touches our lives deeply. Sometimes a deep spiritual challenge. Sometimes an incredible fashion show (modeled by us - ordinary people). Sometimes organizing or decorating ideas for our homes. Sometimes ladies who attend sharing their wonderful talents or businesses or ministries. Always special. Always fun. Always meaningful. Beyond helping my dear friend with this and other ministries we have a wonderful, deep friendship that we both cherish. She is quick to give little gifts. The ceramic heart at the top of this post is one of those gifts. Part of a gift this last Christmas was this heart that means so much. It hangs on the wall of my office. Not just for the holidays but for every day.
And then there are the many other friends I wouldn't want to be without. The everyday friends who pass through and touch my life often. And you, my dear blog friends, who have come to mean so much to me. Each one is so special. While I treasure gifts from my friends, most of all I treasure the gift of friendship.
(I am off today to lead music at Friend To Friend. If you live in the Portland, Oregon area and would like to know more - and maybe join us in the future - you can read more about it here. If you decide to attend please let me know you are coming. I want to meet you. I'll save you a seat! I'm sure you'll be glad you came. You will definitely meet new friends.)