A cute little story I wrote about my friend Marti and me was published in Guideposts a couple years ago.
The photo shoot is actually more exciting than the story, so I’ll take you behind the scenes.
It took place in mid-February. Outside. At a park. On a twisty slide. In Iowa. No coats allowed. What?!?
I suggested a photo at a coffee shop, because drinking a hot caffeinated beverage in a warm locale is more our style than balancing precariously on giant plastic playground equipment in arctic temps. But I guess they wanted to give Marti the opportunity to prove she is the friend I claimed her to be in my article. (A fair-weather friend never would have agreed to such unpleasantness. )
It was 20 degrees with an Iowa take-your-breath-away winter wind. The kind that forces tears out of your eyes and makes your nose drip.
In the photo my hand is nicely relaxed on the slide. It had been clenched in a fist in an effort to calm my shivering body, but the photographer told me it made me look like I was cold. With my other hand I held onto the red slide pole for dear life. Marti too was clamping her hand around that pole with all of her strength. (You can see that photo here.)
It is amazingly difficult to poise yourself halfway down a twisty slide (especially when you are losing the feeling in your fingers).
Following the shoot, we went to my house, brewed some hot coffee and talked about things that moms of boys talk about while our six male children (3 of mine, 3 of hers) played video games and entertained themselves by making fun body noises. I love doing life with this lady as my friend.
I sometimes reflect on the way God has melded our boy mama hearts together. How, over the past 15 years he has brought each of us challenges that would have been much more difficult to walk through without each other. From miscarriage, to potty-training, to decisions about the education of our children (for several years, she went with homeschool and I went with public – you can read that story here,) to cancer, God has used the love we have for each other as a picture of his sacrificial love for us.
True, open, vulnerable friendships are not easy and are far from perfect, but they are worth the time and effort. It is worth it to open your heart up to another person. You will find that when you take off the my life is perfect mask, your friend will take hers off too. And when those masks are off, friendship deepens and at the same time becomes more fun.
Disagree when you need to disagree. Argue when you need to argue. Laugh when you need to laugh. Ask for forgiveness when necessary and extend grace always. When sacrificially loving those dear friends God places in our lives, we receive so much more than we give.
Everyone should have a friend who is willing to conquer a mid-winter, twisty-slide photo shoot with them. It’s proof of love I tell you.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.