Friday, May 28, 2010

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends"

The Gospel of John puts what is on my heart really beautifully. It makes me think of the million little ways that friends over the years have, in some way or another, given a part of their day, their evening, their heart, their life for me. I can only attribute the richness of these blessings to God's overwhelming and incomprehensible love for me.

This love has been poured out mostly in the form of some really amazing women, giving me a deep appreciation for the value of women friendships. Any blog of mine would be remiss without some form of social commentary and I definitely have some on this topic. Few things make me more sad than hearing a teenage girl say "I am better friends with guys," or an adult say "there's too much drama with girls, I have more male friends." Lord knows there can be plenty of drama amongst us girls, but what makes me sad is what these gals who say these things are missing.

They are missing the chance to go through those sometimes awful high school years with people who truly get it. I don't know what dance this was, maybe the Daddy-Daughter dance? I see these girls and I think of so many memories- from how we managed to get beer in Isle of Hope (okay so we weren't always the best influences on each other), to riding around in Elizabeth's big buick, to sleepovers at Rozie's house, to the ebb and flow of relationships to 10 pm trips for ice cream on school nights. Had I not had these girls, I would have missed so much.

And these girls- these ladies...

I was introduced to each of these girls by Father Tim, a dear friend and someone who has come to my rescue too many times with his prayers, words of encouragement and spiritual presence. Over many years of bible studies at UGA, we cemented ourselves in each others hearts and have been there for one another through so much. We spent so many mornings at Five Points Deli, no doubt getting approving glances at our open Bibles on the tables. The irony is that half that time we were talking about boys. And Jesus too though. He is a boy :) Just the other evening I spent 2 hours drinking sweet tea (looking on longingly as they drank margaritas- see empty pitcher above) and every minute of my baby's caffeinated legs kicking me until 3 am was worth that fellowship. We each have very different lives now but the willingness to drop everything, to lay aside our own lives to help each other remains. My heart aches for the pains they have endured and continue to endure and it rejoices in their promotions, new adventures and exciting changes. What would I have missed, had I been spending all that precious time with "guy friends?"

I would have missed the chance to celebrate big life transitions with the ones I love most. Watching your friends become mamas might be one of the greatest joys in life. In the first photo above, two of us are pregnant and Natalie is holding that amazing baby boy. I think of the times in my life where these girls have dropped their lives to come be beside me in mine. They have time and time and time again, laid down their lives for mine??!!   I don't pretend to get that. The middle photo could be of any number of trips to Shirley Ridge, this HAVEN we have been gifted to use by the Shirleys. I think that trip was my first time introducing Ross to these girls who he, too, would come to love. And the last photo, well, I need to find a way to edit it and grasp what is really happening. And it is signficant (otherwise I would not be posting a picture where my backside is in focus). At the beginning of my rehearsal dinner, a few things had gone wrong. And any bride knows that no matter how inconsequential, those things going wrong can make your head spin. I don't know if I let a tear escape or if I cussed too loudly or what happened. But before I knew it, I was being whisked away by these ladies to the side of the building to pray. We held hands and they, one by one, prayed for my peace, for my calm, that I would not kill any person that day? Okay, maybe that was a stretch but the point was, they prayed for me. And after, I smiled, knowing that nothing that went wrong mattered. The only thing that mattered was what went right- which was preparing to marry my husband. I enjoyed the rest of my evening so much because of that perspective and it will remain one of my most treasured wedding memories.

I look back at my shutterfly albums and see these faces. We are celebrating finding our Mr. Right's,

and here, spending time with a best friend, just a year before, grieving the loss of Mr. not so right

and here, celebrating our alma mater, SVA, where many of us learned just how vital, how integral, these girlfriends would be.

To such sweet friends, thank you for every, single time you have laid down whatever was going on in your life for me. Thank you for answering the phone instead of letting it go to voice mail. Thank you for sharing your advice on how to get through a pregnancy. Thank you for pouring that next glass of wine and offering me your prayers. Thank you for trusting me with your heart and needing me, sometimes as much as I need you. If little Ninness is a girl, you can bet she will have many aunties to complain about her mama to and she will grow up knowing the gift that is a good girlfriend. And if little Ninness is a boy, he will be taught to be cautious about a girl who doesn't have these kinds of friendships and will be taught to make sure that if she does have these friends, he is always in their good graces!


  1. i miss all those girls, and keri i love this post. it brought tears to my eyes, but in a good way. i get chill bumps when i see pics of the group of girls from SVA and just wish for one tiny instance i could go back to those moments.

    this post also reminds me that i need to hang out with you soon. :)

  2. Amy- if a hormonal woman and a newborn show up at your door in Mississippi, just call Lou to babysit and pour me a cocktail :)

  3. you've got it. you know i always have ice-cold bevos, and a bottle of wine...and recently have started keeping the captain on board (well, in my house...not always on board) as well. bring it!