This past weekend I had the joyous privilege of doing the wedding cake for one of Aaron’s high school friends. Not knowing anyone at the wedding I had a lot of time to sit back and watch and reflect upon high school friendships. Those friendships that are originally developed solely based on the idea that our options are limited at that age, but then grown out of a sincere enjoyment of that person. And while many times life leads us out of our home towns for college and beyond, those friendships remain some of the most important ones that a person makes…because they are formative. They are the kind of friendships that help in molding us during impressionable years. And there are a few that I am so thankful for.
The first for me is my dear friend Ceri. I shared my most typical and memorable high school moments with her. We met as first year cheerleaders our sophomore year of high school, and for the next 3 years were a part of every aspect of each others lives. We spent hours upon hours with each other, dated several guys with each others “expert” advice on the subject, got ready for numerous dances together, traveled to countless football and basketball games for cheerleading with each other, supported each others efforts in being mad at somebody for dating the others ex-boyfriend…the important stuff in high school! And as silly as that all sounds to me now, if I hadn’t had that, I would have felt alone. It was essential to me during those years, and my enjoyment of high school would not have been the same without her. Still to this day, I think of her often and the impact she made in my life. She was a fundamental part of me learning how to believe in myself and become somebody other than a shy girl, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Second is my life-long friend, Robyn. She and I met in church when we were in junior high. Those dreaded junior high years that I so desperately wish I could forget, but unfortunately are seared in my memory forever. Robyn became my best friend quickly. So many of my memories with her involve church camps, youth group, and countless Sundays mornings. Robyn and I could talk to each other about anything…and we did. My last year of high school we spent nearly every day with each other and were devastated when I left the following fall for college. I think we really did feel like life was over! But I think what I love best about my friendship with Robyn is that it has without fail stood the test of time. We have had several ups and a few downs, but still to this day remain good friends. I thank Jesus for her often and wonder how my high school years would have been without her. My guess is that they would have felt empty without the rich friendship I had with her.
Once high school was over I began a new season of friendships in college. And then when I moved to Oregon to be with Aaron I started over once again. I think one of the hardest things about moving to your spouses home town is learning how to fit into their life. It’s hard. Really, really hard. Their memories are their own, and somehow you are supposed to find your place in those. It was not my favorite part of that transition in my life, but there were a few people that made it so much easier for me.
Selah. I don’t even know where to begin with her. She was one of the only girls in Aaron’s high school group of friends that not only treated me kindly, but made an effort to know me and love me. I consider her such a good friend and am so pleased to have made it through almost 10 years in Bend with her as my friend.
And then there is Bart. He is one of Aaron’s best friends and made me feel like he had known me forever since the first day I met him. He took a genuine interest in me and my life apart from Aaron and continues to do so. I’m so thankful that he has never made me feel like I don’t belong.
While I watched Amber enjoy her most special day this past weekend I thought about how significant it is for me that she asked ME to make her wedding cake. She doesn’t even live in Bend! She lives in Washington and could have had anybody take that job. Still, she asked me. Here is what I made her:
Almost 12 years after she and Aaron went to school together, and she thought of us. Formative friendships.
A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.
What I love most about this quote is that it doesn’t apply to high school friends at the time you make them, but often times grows into this the longer they last. In high school you typically haven’t lived long enough to have a “past”, and you’re too self-centered to believe in anyone’s future but your own. And often, in high school, people are not accepted just the way they are. But this quote takes on new meaning each year that passes and you move farther away from high school. Because some of those same friends you made in high school begin to exemplify these very attributes. While I only spoke of a few select formative friendships that I made, there are several that helped to make my formative years the best. To Ceri, Robyn, Laura, Sarah, Carolee, Selah, Chris, Ryan, and Bart…here’s to friendships that endure!