Wandering West, Day 12, Monday, July 5, 2021
Friend…how would you define it? According to Webster’s Dictionary, it is 1a. One attached to another by affection or esteem; 2a. One that is not hostile; 2b. One that is of the same nation, party, or group; 3. One that promotes something (such as charity); 4. A favored companion.
How do I define it? People who I enjoy doing life with, who think the way I do, who believe the way I do, who enjoy the things I enjoy, who I trust, and just truly enjoy being with. So, I guess definition #4 fits my idea of friendship the best.
It is a brave thing to do, set out on a 17-day cross-country trip with two other families plus two ladies. I mean, traveling with your family is hard enough but how in the world can 17 people get along for that long? Well, we’ve made it to day 12 and we haven’t abandoned anyone yet. And, quite honestly, I feel like I’ve made two new friends in the “Boo Boos”, Linda Wait and Barbara Ballard, and I’ve become closer with Scott, Jaci, Tiffany, & Kevin.
This trip has made me think a lot about friendship. We all have certain friendship phases in our lives. We go through the elementary/high school friends who we think we’ll be friends with forever and just cannot imagine our lives without them (Holly, Traci, Camille, & Jenni you each hold a special place in my heart). We go through those college friends, who are those friends who are helping you figure out what it’s like to truly be on your own, to make decisions on your own, to find out who you are (Squishy, Melinda, Mark, Ernie, Adam, Brandon we had some great times!). We go through those young adult/work friends, who are there for you as you figure out careers and starting a family. Then, you go through those friends who are with you through the “family years”. Those friends who are right there in the middle of it all with you, raising kids, working, church, all that fun stuff (and honestly, most of the latter two categories are those same friendships, at least for us).
This is where we find ourselves today. We have been blessed to find some great friends who share our interests, beliefs, and are in the same time of life we are. I’m not just talking about the friends who are with us on this trip, but, of course, those with us now are closest to my mind at the moment. When I hear one of us ‘getting onto” another one’s kids, it really just makes me smile. I love that we are comfortable enough with each other to discipline each other’s kids (and yes, believe it or not these “perfect” kids need plenty of discipline! LOL!!!). It also makes me smile to hear someone say “oh, I was going to do that just because I didn’t want to disappoint you, but thank goodness you don’t really want to do it!”. Or to hear them just say, I’m tired and I’m going to skip out on that but you have fun. I love that I can walk beside someone and never say a word, and that is enough. I’m a quiet, introverted person. Sometimes I just enjoy being in the presence of someone else but don’t necessarily need the conversation (weird to some, I know), but in the friends I have now, I have that. I don’t feel the pressure to fill the silence.
We’ve all laughed, learned more about each other’s “stories”, learned about connections we have had long before we knew each other (who knew, Barbara knew some of my family way back in the day), and have made memories that will last a lifetime.
God places certain people in our lives at just the right time and I know he has placed my friends in my life now to provide just what I need and hopefully, for me to be a blessing to them.
Today was a travel day and we traveled 75 miles south to find a place closer to our next stops, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Once we got set up and settled several of us did some grocery shopping and laundry. Tonight, my friends and I find ourselves in Lemon Cove, California resting up for a full day of exploring the parks tomorrow. And, if you are wondering, yes, there are citrus groves all around us and we did find some roadside stands at which to buy some fresh lemons, oranges, strawberries, and avocados.
Stay tuned, the adventures continue tomorrow!