This past week I received a package from California. I know a sum total of approximately 7 people that live in California, so this was unexpected. The package was from my mom’s childhood best friend. I’ve met her a handful of times over the course of my life.
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was beginning 7th grade. Over the course of a year she went through chemotherapy and radiation. After my mom won her battle with cancer, she mailed her childhood best friend a heart as a thank you for the encouragement and valued support she offered during my mom’s cancer despite being states away.
When I opened the box she sent me last week, I found a note and the same heart my mom had sent her over 15 years ago. My mom’s best friend had saved that heart for all these years, and wanted to pass it along to me as an encouragement for the support that I am now able to be to my sister in her battle against cancer.
As we approach my sister’s fourth and final chemotherapy in under a week, I’m blown away by the level of support and love we have been surrounded with. People who have reached out to say they are praying, who provide meals, send cards, or offer to help with nieces.
Friends Through Seasons
Over the course of my life I have been given so many good friends. When I look at my parents, my siblings, my extended family – we have been given a great gift in each other, but also in the friends that surround us.
When we look at the world around us, at the pain and hardship that we all must walk through at different times, we cannot do it alone. There are numerous groups of friends I’ve gained over the years who have walked with me through so many different seasons of life:
- The Fab Five – Childhood and high school friends who continue to be my go-to ladies and have been there in some of the greatest times and hardest times of life.
- The Bonzai roommates from college – A safe haven in some tough years and some of the deepest women I know.
- The Magnificent Seven – Kappa sisters who are faithful constants and always there for supporting one another.
- My Forge family – Few words can describe this community aside from deep love and people who have given and received a lot of grace.
- The Sweetwater House – This was such a sweet and crazy season living with some of my favorite people, all of which fall into another group in this list. More numerous than those who lived there are the ones who were changed by that house.
- Killeen Life – Some of the strongest women and men I’ve ever met, who have taught me the ways of the Army life.
Friendship is hard. It is difficult to walk alongside people through the different seasons of life. Time, location, or circumstances can all cause people to drift. But the people who stick it out with you. The people you commit to stick it out with. These are your people, your tribe. The ones who text and call and call you back after you’ve screened their calls because you “just don’t have the time” and never judge you for it.
We Weren’t Meant to Live Life Alone
Very often I’m not the type of friend I want to be. I allow myself to be too busy. I don’t make time to call people back, or catch up, or send that text even though I’m thinking of them.
But today I want to remember this season of life, this season where I’m surrounded by so many people I love during my last month in Texas. This season where we’ve dug deep roots in a town I never thought I’d live in, but can honestly say “I heart Killeen.” I want to remember the people who are pouring out their support to our family and to my wonderful sister. I want to remember the friend who eagerly offers to help care for my pups so I can go and be with my sister in Dallas. The ones who go out of their way and change their schedules and take five kids under 4-years-old to a park just to give my sister a break. The ones who gladly include my nieces in their carpools and ensure they have a ride to ballet or soccer. The ones who make sure the dinner table is never empty and the groceries are always there and put away.
Today I remember. And I want you to know that you are seen and I am grateful for you. My family is grateful for you.
I desire to be that kind of friend who walks faithfully alongside people from states away, whose support elicits a sincere thank you. The kind of friend who treasures my friendships for years and years. The kind of friend that passes along the blessing of friendship to others, in order that they too might remember how gifted we are to have one another. To walk alongside each other. To support each other. To remind each other that we aren’t alone.