Monday, March 1, 2010
Mountains and Miles
This weekend, I drove from Tulsa, OK to Urbana, Illinois to celebrate the 40th birthday of my dear friend Kristin, whom I met 20 years ago. We met at the Jersey shore in the summer of 1990. We were hippie Christian college kids with our worlds before us. During that intense summer living in community with a dozen or so other students, studying our faith in an academic but delightfully fun environment, it was only natural that enduring friendships would spring up. One like ours.
Our friendship continued while she finished school in Michigan and I finished school in Pennsylvania. Our lives crisscrossed the Eastern side of the country as we married and birthed babies and moved to where the jobs were. In a conversation, back in the day, we talked about how we were always connected, over mountains and miles.
We are still separated by miles and mountains. But when her sweet husband asked me to come in for the party, I knew I wouldn't miss it. I met so many fantastic people: Lorna, Dorie, Rebecca, Jubal, Renee, Havah, Rachel, Becca, Paige, Lawrence...the list goes on. Kristin and I did exactly what we needed to do. We talked. Over gorgeous meals, in the car, in the dining room, in two cafes and one bakery, in the mall, at the door, in the kitchen, on the stairs... a blur of voices tripping over each other, urgent at times to get it all out, slow and pensive at others, reaching for understanding.
I have so many thoughts to process from this trip it can't all be summarized here. We talked a lot about friendship, real, true, fast adult friendship. The kind that happens organically and strikes deep roots. Kristin explained how some deep friendships had met rocky, unsatisfying ends. She talked about a few relationships whose fragile buds were still getting used to the idea of spring. There was a sense of the inevitability of shifting lives and friendships that can leave us feeling unmoored.
But at her party, looking around the room full of diverse, truly interesting people, I saw how deeply she is loved.
Here is a woman who knows how to connect, to choose her friends wisely and well, to find what she needs and be what others need. She laughed, and hugged, and talked some more. Through all the curves our lives have taken, this could have been one of those disposable friendships of youth. It isn't. We still connect, are still connected, across mountains and miles. I am honored to have celebrated a big day with my dear, "old" friend.