The Beauty of Friends

I’ve been thinking a lot about life. You know, marriage, kids, etc. I guess part of me really wants to settle down and have kids but then another part of me is enjoying being single. Maybe it’s just that a lot of my friends are settling down and now that I am in a new community myself, I’m yearning for new relationships. I’m not talking just romantically but friendship wise as well and I haven’t found many people my age here yet which is hard, but knowing that I have good friends throughout the United States helps. I know that the friendships I made at seminary are friendships that I truly believe will last a lifetime.

It amazes me the friends I made at seminary. Some of us clicked because we had worked at Bible camps and could share camp stories. Others of us had similar interests but then some of us probably never would have become friends in any other situation. Now I know that probably sounds ridiculous but it’s true. But despite our differences, we became friends because we were there for the same reasons. I see such beauty in those friendships because of that reality. These friendships are the friendships that I hope will withstand the test of time. These friends are the ones that helped me to grow into the woman of faith that I am today. These friends are the same friends who got me to open up about my mom’s illness and stood by me when I decided it was important to share our story. These friends are the friends that were with me in the joys, the pleasures, the pain and the tears. These friends are the ones that no matter where we are at know that I am thinking and praying for them as they do the same for me. These friends are the ones that came miles to be at my consecration service, to sit beside me, and to wipe away the tears of joy as I ventured into this new place God called me to!

The amazement and strength of these friendships have grown out of the experiences we shared. One of these experiences took place over the entire course of seminary. In class, I was extremely quiet. I was afraid of what others might think and say so I kept quiet but these friends encouraged me to grow and helped me to find my theological voice that I continue to claim to this day. Another experience was road-tripping with these friends, sharing our stories, and learning about each other. One trip in particular was when M and L and I went to Milwaukee. Needless to say, I drank a little too much Sangria but they kept me safe and helped me to realize it was okay to drink in moderation and in a safe environment. There also were the trips with K, M, L, M, and I eating Red Vines as we talked and shared together. But probably the most profound experiences were our Perkins discussions, our late night chats and our game nights. Just in those little moments, I learned more about these dear friends that I could ever have imagined. And to this day, I see those experiences as some of the best times of my life because they truly solidified these friendships.

Without these friends, I’m not sure I would have made it through seminary. Seminary was not the easiest thing for me. In fact one of my professors put it best when he told my candidacy committee, “You know how easy it would have been for Tara to walk out those doors and not look back, but she hasn’t she is still here and that takes guts.” These friends supported me and encouraged me throughout my seminary journey. And as I reflect on these friendships, my prayer is that everyone will find friendships that will withstand the test of time and will be treasured throughout our lives. I also pray that each of us can feel the power of our own friendships and can spread that power to the friends we make throughout our lives. Thanks be to God!

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