friendship purpose: reorientation
Since we’ve been friends for a good while now, I was able to really question her driving ability as I gave her directions from the passenger seat.
“OK. Turn right down there.”
Speeding over the hill and barreling down, Nicole says, “OK.”
Sensing no plans at all to touch the breaks, I said, “Well, do you see the turn?”
Laughing hysterically, with a foot quick to the breaks, we turn right into a slow neighborhood, but we weren’t yet necessarily slow. So when the speed bump came, the wheels threw us forward and up, and then the back wheels flounced us the same, and we laughed so hard that, right in the middle of the road, she came to a complete stop and said, “Sometimes, you’ve just got to stop and start over.”
And even though I’ll go a year at a time without seeing her, we have never had to stop and start over. When I was newly married, all of twenty-one years old, Nicole was a lanky teenager who loved U2 and who, for a year, had worn matching friendship anklets with a small group that included my husband. They had been to Mexico to camp on mountains in mudslides, to feast on mangoes, and to build for the homeless church. In all the bonding and near heat strokes, Seth knew Nicole and I, if we ever got to meet, would be friends for the rest of our lives.
So I took the next trip with them to Mexico. I met her, and I fell in love, had that twin feeling. Nicole went to a University near me, and we met fairly often. And then suddenly, she became a woman, finished her studies in English with a passion, and then married an amazing man. They moved to a far corner of this country, and we never stopped. We never had to start over.
Nicole travels and spends about a week every year with me and helps me love on my boys. We always have the same hair. She took care of my oldest two when the baby was born, and this past week, she came and handled all three of my boys. We both gained a good 8 pounds in ice cream as we daily discussed all the things at the quick of our hearts.
My experience is that good friendships come with a lot of ugly and confessions of self-worship. It comes with restraint and wisdom in leadership, how to lead the other in that closer walk to the truth. Nicole comes, and she comes to minister. When she leaves, I always find myself wanting to reorient so many of my relationships, always wanting to reorient myself to Christ.
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