The big 4-0 is right around the corner. I have been given the opportunity to meet one of my dear friends for a few days with no hubbies, no kids, no pets, no work…and the list goes on. Just her and me on neutral ground where nobody knows us and expects anything from us.
Ali lives in Oregon now. I met her on a summer project with Campus Crusade—now called CRU—more years ago than I care to admit. We worked together in a little t-shirt shop on the boardwalk in a crazy town in New Jersey called Wildwood. We hit it off immediately and through different time zones, have managed to keep in touch over the years.
Ali is the standard to which I judge all of my friendships. And they all fall short compared to her. While we have a lot of similarities, we are very different people. She’s tall and blond and gorgeous and sensitive. Her youngest child is the same age as my oldest. She’s the kind of friend I’ve gone months and even years without speaking to, but we are able to pick up the phone, share deep things and cry together (ok, it’s usually me who cries, but she GETS that)--just as if we lived next door to each other. She flew across country with a 2 year old and 2 month old—by herself!!!-- to be in my wedding. I flew across country to be with her when her daddy died.
As I look back, I’m amazed at the way our paths have gone side by side—even as far apart as we live. We both ended up in ministry. We both have many of the same personal struggles. She’s still the person I call when I hit a low point in my life and want someone to love me through all my insane-ness. While I feel I am pretty authentic, there’s a deepness to our authenticity with each other that is only surpassed by what I have with Brian.
So, after almost 10 years since being together, we are planning a trip halfway between her and me. And I’m giddy with the thought. We are still deciding on where and are looking for a fun, cost-affordable location, but honestly, it doesn’t matter where we go—we will do the same thing no matter what the scenery. We will watch a movie or two, quote Anne of green Gables, do some shopping, eat a bunch of snacks and pick up right where we left off—except now we will talk about our kids and the fact that her middle child is finally cancer-free and how our husbands just don’t always get our emotions—and hopefully reminisce about Marie’s T-shirts and big Bob. And laugh. And, knowing me, cry. And no trip with Ali is complete without pedicures.
Anne of Green Gables says it best “She is my bosom friend--my kindred spirit.”