Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Celebrating 40 years of friendship


I have many wonderful friends and more than a few friendships that have spanned decades.  But I have two sister-friends that are priceless to me.
 
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The backstory:  We met when we were all starting college at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.  It was 1974 – when Nixon resigned his presidency, Earth Wind & Fire was on the radio and The Waltons were hollering good-night to each other on tv.  There we were in our REI 60/40 coats, embroidered tunic tops and flaired jeans, eager to make new friends.  I think we met via mutual friends in our dorms (Liane and Karen lived in the cool old dorm that looked like a mansion) and later were all involved in Young Life.

Liane, always the initiator (she’s from southern California), called me one night during Interim (January term when lots of students are home for an extended Christmas break) and asked if I wanted to come over for popcorn and hot chocolate.  This was awesome because I knew she was someone who everyone loved – and she wanted to hang out with me!  While I was getting my coat on, the phone rang again.  “I just realized I don’t have any cocoa… do you have some?”  Of course I did and I grabbed the can.  Before I locked the door behind me, the phone rang again.  “I don’t actually have any popcorn… can you bring that too?”  I smiled and asked if she had a popper.  “Well, no but I hoped you did.”  She ended up coming over to my room and the rest is history.

Karen came all the way from Colorado Springs, had thick blond hair down to her bum and her own car – an Audi Fox.  I was in awe of her for all those silly reasons but as we got to know each other, I found someone who was always up for an adventure and who loved to laugh as much as I did.  She genuinely cared for her friends and we had lots of great talks about the Lord. 

We went to Malibu (a Young Life camp in British Columbia) together, took vacations to California, back-packed through Europe (we used backpacks instead of suitcases – but ‘back-packing through Europe’ sounds very cool), cried on each other’s shoulders and laughed for more hours than would ever be possible to record.  We have always found the same things to be incredibly funny.

il_340x270.355437682_bawqAt some point after graduating from college, we all bought a little plastic groom (the cheap kind people put on wedding cakes in another era) and began to pray for our husbands and for each other’s husbands.  We talked about what kind of men we’d like to marry and offered each other lots of free advice on what kind of guy we thought the others needed.  We continued spending a great deal of time together, though they lived in Washington and I was in Oregon.  We had many weekend get-togethers in either Seattle or Tacoma or Portland or at the beach.  We all went back to school for graduate degrees and we supported each other through those stretching years.  Karen got married first and her ‘little man’ (as we affectionately called them) had a rug fuzz beard glued onto his chin as he perched on top of their wedding cake.  Brian is a one-in-a-million and we welcomed him into our family.  Then Liane started dating Mark, who is a also a genuine gem and a great compliment to Liane.  At 28, I became certain that I would be spending my golden years having quality time with my little plastic man, when God absolutely astonished me by giving me the man I had loved for the last 11 years.  We actually got married before Liane and Mark but only because Mark didn’t want to steal any of our thunder.  He’s nice like that.

Along came babies – three for each of us – and despite the fact that we moved to California, we continued to find ways to get together at least once a year.  We began calling these weekends our ‘jubilees’ and they have been a highlight for all of us.  

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Sometimes the guys have been a part but mostly they have been girl-times, filled with talking, shopping, talking, eating out, talking, laughter and talking.  We’ve been to exotic places like San Francisco, San Diego, Victoria BC and to familiar places like Sunriver, Whidbey Island, Manzanita and Bay Lake.  It doesn’t really matter where we go, we always settle right into a place of comfort.  Our photos record our bad hair periods, our weight fluctuations and our crow’s feet but what hasn’t changed one bit is how known and supported and loved we feel with each other.  These women pray for me, laugh with (and sometimes at) me, compliment me, challenge me and love me unconditionally.

The three of us couldn’t be more different… which is a very good thing.  And is also something we laugh about often.

Last month we celebrated 40 years of friendship (which is clearly impossible because we aren’t that old) with a long weekend at Young Life’s Malibu Club in Canada.  It was a women’s weekend so we stayed in a cabin with 11 other women we didn’t know.  We had gorgeous weather and lots of great shared memories.

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Our view each morning



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The women who unknowingly got to share our jubilee!

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The Malibu Princess – the only way (other than sea plane) to get to Malibu
This was likely the last summer the Princess will operate so it was a bittersweet trip!

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I loved this quote, which sums up how I feel about this gift of Liane and Karen in my life:

“When I am feeling as exposed and vulnerable as I have ever felt, you are gentle… You put me on a stretcher and cut a hole in the roof where Jesus is and lower me down.  Herky jerky with sawdust in my hair, singing show tunes and complimenting me on my outfit, feeding me and praying for me.  Laughing and crying with me.  Thank you for getting me to Jesus.”
                                  ~Leeana Tankersley, Breathing Room

1 comment:

Tilly said...

Beautiful tribute to your friendship of 40 years!! You are blessed:)

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