Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On Seeing Old Friends

So nice to catch up with Jennifer Petterec after oh, about 11 years!

When I was in Orlando, I was lucky enough to catch up with some old friends from college.  One night, I got to see Jimmy and Jennifer Petterec.  I was on YouthQuest with Jimmy and Jen, and I remember them back in the day when they were just falling in love!  Now, they've been married for 10 years, have two adorable kids, and have been in Youth Ministry for years.  I really enjoyed laughing with them about 90s fashion, old memories, and hearing what God has done in their lives and marriage over the last decade.  I also leaned in as they shared their experiences with youth ministry, since I'm back in the game on that.  If you want some awesome recipe ideas and home decorating tips, check out Jennifer's blog.

I also got to see Reece and Erin Mashaw.  I knew Reece in high school.  He was actually a very important friend at a very important time in my life.  I was a brand spanking new Christian, and Reece was my best friend.  I learned so much about the Bible from him, and I respected him for being a quiet leader in our youth group, and just an all around nice guy who gave pretty much everyone a chance.  He was also my Prom date.  I got to know Erin also on YouthQuest.  She can sing her tail off and is also one of the funniest girls I've ever met! :)  They too have been married for a while, and have two adorable kids.  And, get this - she's pregnant with TWINS.  You should definitely check out Reece's blog, he writes about life in a way that reminds me of Francis Chan, so be ready to open your eyes and get your spiritual butt kicked every now and then.  I loved catching up with them, and hearing their story of the twists and turns of life and family and ministry.

I came away from both of these visits with old friends with a deep sense of gratitude.  I am friends with some awesome people who really love and serve the Lord.  I realize now that I totally took that for granted when I was at Liberty, especially on YouthQuest.  I think back to this amazing group of people, many of whom I'm still friends with, and I have to wonder - will I ever again be a part of such a great community?

I find it's harder to make friends as an adult.  Maybe it's just me.  Maybe it's because when you're a kid, or a college student, there's a level playing field, everybody is at the same place you are in life, for the most part.  But as adults, everything varies.  Some people have jobs, some people don't.  Some people are married, some have kids, some are unhappily married, some can't have kids and are full of sorrow, some are divorced, some have older kids, or babies, or jobs they hate, or they move away.  It's all different.

I have friends in my current community.  At work.  At church.  Even here in the apartment complex where we live.  But my best friend on the planet.... lives in Thailand.  And, I miss her dearly.

I have a history of being serial monogamous with my best friends.  And, honestly, right now, I'm lonely.  I miss having those close knit friends, yet, I find myself reluctant to make such friendships.  Maybe I'm afraid of the vulnerability?  Maybe I'm just tired.  I don't know.  

I wish these friends lived here instead of in Florida.


Kristen Maddux said...

shut up. (I'm very into using that as an exclamation these days, like NO WAY! can you tell?) ha! But, GIRL!....This comment's going to have to have bullet points.
*First, were you listening in on my conversation with my husband last night? Because everything you said about friendships is exactly what I was telling him I felt like. I think you quoted perfectly the "will I ever again be a part of a great community like I had in Lynchburg?" Seriously. It's so much harder as an adult. You are right. So. much. harder. I too was trying to pin down what it is that makes it like that. There's a ton of elements to it, I'm sure...but I miss it terribly. I put lots of effort into making community happen where I am, but is definitely not as easy. I feel like I'm doing most the work.
(Sorry, I think that turned into a vent.)
*Second, my hubby Andrew was on Sounds of Liberty with Erin! I totally didn't know you were friends with them too. You and I must have crossed paths in The Hanger so many times and didn't even know it. :)
*I'd enjoy hearing more about your new work with youth. I really want to get into that again myself. Teen girls make me happy.
*Ok, I'll go now. :)

Coffee Mom said...

Dana, it really was so wonderful to catch up! Amazing the common ground, because it had to be something special to pick up after 11+ years!! It is hard. Like I told you, I've had to learn from my kids and go back to the "will you be my friend and play with me" sort of thing. And those girls I first asked to meet weekly with last year? Met with them this morning. Our friend who moved to TN was in town so the circle was complete again. We continue to share and grow in our friendship. I'm thankful for those girls, because it sure is harder in the stage and place of life!! So harder. But sometimes I think about the LU dorm days of talking and laughing ourselves to sleep in those bunk beds and watching movies on our TV/VCR combo and sharing outfits (cargo skirts and overalls!) and decking out for campus church together (ha!) and realize that was a uniquely special time.

We must get together again! But for now, I'm thankful for this!

Coffee Mom said...

And that would be *so MUCH harder! :)

Anonymous said...

Dana, thanks for the shout out! You're too kind. We felt the same way about catching up with you the other night. There is something so bittersweet about reunions. On one hand, it is so encouraging to reconnect with old friends and find out that you can still pick up where you left off. That the time and distance hasn't deteriorated the common ground that you used to have. On the other hand, it brings back all of these memories of that close knit community that so many of us enjoyed, not so long ago. This may be part of what Solomon meant when he wrote that "even in laughter the heart may ache..." That there is something sad about happiness because it is always temporary and subject to change.

Allow me to recommend a different solution... Instead of all of us moving to DC, maybe you and Michael should move to Florida. What we lack in major news organizations, we make up for in amusement parks.