In the years that have passed, a majority have remained in contact, adding spouses along the way. We've rejoiced at weddings and births and adoptions and jobs and experiences. We've laughed together until some of us have--perhaps--had to change pants. I'm not sure on that. Someone else was telling me about it. And then we've cried together and mourned with each other loss of life and consequences of sin. We've prayed over each other and for each other. We've made it through some good and some bad. And still we remain a community.
I consider these people some of the closet in my life. Only we're spread across the state and country and even between continents. Because of the hundreds--and thousands--of miles separating us, we often dream of developing a compound. It's such a grand thought to be surrounded with such dear friends. To really do life together.
(Sure, it'd be hard. And there's absolutely no way I could "live off the grid" as Patti and I once planned as part of a compound. If you know me, you know that I don't like dirt. I don't really even like the beach. Because sand equals dirt. I can't handle it. So, for me, that pretty much rules out the gardening component of living off the grid.)
For these people, I am thankful. Thankful to laugh and cry, rejoice and mourn. Thankful to share without judgement and to be forgiven. Thankful for wisdom and encouragement offered by the many. Thankful that even if weeks or months go by, we pick up right where we left off. Thankful that our friendships are made from the stuff that counts.
Although only three of us were able to gather this time,
here are a few links to blogs of these special people
(or a spouse that we would have gladly had on our trip):