Stories of Friendship: The one who got me through the hard times

I had lunch with my friend Dawn yesterday, and while lunching with a friend is not necessarily the kind of earth-shaking action one writes about, our time of catching up got me thinking about friendship.

Actually, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Maybe because friends haven’t always come easy to me and now I’m beyond grateful for the people in my life I call friends. I’ve written before about a few of those friends. But I want to tell you more. And I want you to tell me your stories of friendship. (See the end of this post for details about how you can do that.) Because I don’t know about you, but I often take my friends for granted. I don’t always say how much they mean to me, and with most of those friends, I don’t have to say it. We just know it. Still, I’m a fan of telling the people you care about that you care about them.

I’m aiming to leave no words unsaid.

So, back to my friend Dawn. (I’d show you a picture of us together but I don’t think we have one. That might be a thing I need to change. Pictures of me with the people I care about.)

Just before my son was born, I tried to start a moms group in the little town we lived in because I was desperate for friends. We’d lived there for two years and I didn’t really have anyone to talk to or hang out with. Part of this was my own introversion. Part of it was being the stay-at-home mother to a little one in a community where most moms worked. The moms group never really took off, but I had posted a sign for it at the seminary where my husband was taking classes and kind of forgot about it.

Months later, after Corban came into our lives, I got an e-mail from Dawn. She’d seen my flyer. They’d just moved to the area. Her husband had just started seminary. And she wanted to know more about the group. We corresponded by e-mail a few times because the group was no more and I was still adjusting to having two kids in the house. I looked forward to her e-mails. I liked her immediately, and we lived in the same town but it took us a few weeks to arrange a meeting. I was nervous about meeting her in person because what if I didn’t like her anymore? (It’s a good thing I never tried online dating. I have this fear about anyone I know mostly from the Internet whom I have the chance to meet in person. Pretty good track record so far!)

We met briefly and it was a little awkward because I’m much more comfortable with written words than spoken ones. But then we kept getting together. We had kids that were similarly aged, and we both needed another adult to keep us sane through the days of seminary classes and financial insecurities and parenting troubles.

I had considered the moms group a failed attempt at ministry, but when I look back on it, I sense it was divinely inspired so that I could know Dawn. Our friendship began about six months before my husband confessed his infidelity, and I truly don’t know what we would have done without Dawn and her family. Emotional support. Babysitting while we went to counseling. Honest sharing. They were lifelines for us.

There are days I consider our time in Pennsylvania and what our lives would be like if we’d never moved here, and I can’t measure how different my life would be without some of the friends I might never have met.

Dawn is one of those friends I feel like knows me well enough that our friendship could be twice as old as it is. We’ve laughed together, gone out to movies and dinner. She took me to get my first pedicure. We’ve traded babysitting. We’ve shared our resources. We’ve walked through hard times. I smile when I think of Dawn because she is extroverted where I am introverted but she has shown me what it is to break the rules, to passionately defend your beliefs, to stand up for the poor and needy, to fight for justice.

She makes me brave.

My life is better because Dawn and I are friends. That’s the best kind of friend, right?

So, tell me about your friends. I have more stories to share about other friends, and I will do that occasionally, here. But I’d like to share this space with you. Send me a paragraph or two about a friend you can’t imagine not having in your life, or a friend who has been with you through thick and thin, or a friend you didn’t expect to have. If you have a photo, I’ll post it, too. E-mail me at lmbartelt {at} gmail {dot} com. Let’s celebrate friends together!


6 thoughts on “Stories of Friendship: The one who got me through the hard times

  1. Pingback: Stories of Friendship: The one next door {guest post by Lisa Betz} | Living Echoes

  2. Pingback: Stories of Friendship: The one who takes me as I am | Living Echoes

  3. Pingback: Stories of Friendship: The ones who know our then and now | Living Echoes

  4. Pingback: Stories of Friendship: The one who encouraged me | Living Echoes

  5. Pingback: Stories of Friendship: The one who’s been through it all | Living Echoes

  6. Pingback: Stories of Friendship: The one who taught me to be an adult | Living Echoes

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