We sat on the floor of the seminary tv room having just finished our very first day of classes. During class, we watched a clip from the movie “Chocolat” and decided that we wanted to watch the movie that evening so here we were gathered watching the movie, the smell of chocolate cake permeating the room as it sat on the table behind the couch. Sadly I had bought my own birthday cake because it was my birthday and I wanted to make new friends. I think part of me thought I could bribe them with chocolate! 🙂 (These souls who became my dear friends later apologized saying they should have never let me buy my own cake).
Moments after the movie ended, we were ready to cut into that cake, but instead someone uttered the words “Show me how a pig eats” (or something along those lines). I remember a couple of us dove right into that chocolate cake with our hands and shoveled it into our mouths. I remember hearing the giggling and laughter circulating throughout the room. It is one of my most favorite memories from my seminary life. Little did I realize how important these individuals who let me buy my own birthday cake would later become such dear friends in my life.
These individuals were the ones who sat with me and prayed as my sister and I made the decision to become our mom’s legal guardian. These individuals are the ones who I sat and poured my heart out to during late night Perkins runs. These individuals were the ones who cheered me on when I struggled with systematic theology. I watched as two of these individuals lives became one as husband and wife and then later welcomed their dear daughter. I watched as several of them were ordained into the ministry of Word and Sacrament. These friendships are friendships that I treasure each and every day even though the miles seperate us.
When I graduated seminary, one of our classmates made a video of our time at seminary and the music they used was “Circle of Friends” by the Christian group Point of Grace. Every time I hear that song now I am reminded of what friendship on purpose; friendship grounded in God’s love for each other looks like. I was blessed by those friendships at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp. I was blessed by those friendships at seminary. I was blessed by those friendships at my previous call and in my previous community.
One of the hardest things about having to say goodbye is having to leave those relationships behind.
I feared coming to a new community and having to make friends. As I prayed about this new opportunity, I will admit that I had flashbacks to elementary school. I remember standing alone on the playground as a little girl waiting to make new friends. But somehow in the mist of my fear at starting this new journey, God has blessed me with some incredible friendships over the last six months. I have sat with my friend CT and poured out my heart to her. I have sat and broke break at her dining room table with her and her daughters and our friend KW. I have sat with my friends EG and KG over a glass of wine. In these friendships, I have realized that I am surrounded by an incredible circle of friends from many different times and places that will always be there for me.
I miss those friends that I have left behind and I have tried my very best to stay in touch with each of them. There are days I wish I was a better friend and could keep in touch with them. There are days that I want to pick up the phone and hear their voices but yet I haven’t been able to do that. I know that in time our paths will cross again.
My life is fuller and sweeter because of those friendships grounded in God’s love for each of us. I am incredibly blessed with an amazing splendid “circle of friends.” May we all know that deep friendship where we can share our heart and soul without fear and know that we will always be welcomed at the table for who we are!
Won’t you join me at my table?
Some old school “Point of Grace”
I am linking up at (In)Couragers today! http://www.incourage.me/2014/06/on-purpose.html