Small, Ordinary Friendship

If you've read some of my other posts, you would know that my husband, Isaac, and I have been in what is, quite frankly, a hard season of life. Don't get me wrong, there have been beautiful parts. Joy and laughter have been faithful companions. We love our life. It's simply that life has thrown some curveballs and difficult circumstances at us. Combine that with our own mistakes and humanness and you simply get "hard."

One of the blessings of this hard season has been the insight it has given to friendship. It's opened my eyes to the gift that true friendship can be and it's also shed light on my role in caring for and nurturing my friendships.

I've never been a girl that had a big inner circle. Sure, I was involved in many activities in high school and college and was friends with a number of people. But in both instances, I had a small & close knit group of dear friends. In high school my friends and I spent after school hours and Friday nights together. In college, my new friends and I spent...well, all the time together. (#120PeopleInOurGraduatingClass). Given that humor is an element nearly essential to life for me, much of these hours were spent in laughter. I am hard pressed to recall a "bad" time spent with my people.

When Isaac and I were preparing to graduate college, get married and move away, my greatest prayer at the time was for friends. We understood that our life was about to change and the endless hours spent gathering with some of the greatest friends we've ever had was about to end. I began to pray, asking God to lead us to a church and to community that would bring us friends just like we had been so fortunate as to have before. Not just people to have dinner with a few times a year but real, quality friends.

God has been so faithful to answer that prayer. He brought us to a place where we've met incredible people who have become some of our dearest friends. It didn't take long for us to connect at our current church and in our current community. We have shared deep belly laughs and filled those bellies around the table. Games have been played and bonfires have been enjoyed. But it wasn't these happy experiences that revealed the true value of our times together. This was revealed through the hard experiences.

For several weeks after my miscarriages last fall, our dearest friends in our current community and a few from college and high school were the only ones who knew outside of our immediate families. These friends SHOWED UP. Meals, cards, small gifts and prayer. Oh, how they prayed. More than anything? They were a listening ear. They asked thoughtful questions. They were present and never pushy. This was our first real, hard experience with some of these people by our sides and God used it to open our eyes to this gift before us.

It wasn't just new friends who contributed to our lesson. Old friends jumped in like there weren't entire countries separating us (Hello, distance between Philly and Denver). They loved hard like it hadn't been several months or years since we were last in the same room. This was when we realized that while God answered our prayer for friends in this season, he had provided for that need innumerable times in our past.

Like when I was 16 and my father died in the middle of the summer. One friend came to every service (4) in spite of the 4.5 hour drive she made daily between the camp she was at for the summer and the funeral home.

Or when I was a new college freshman and I awkwardly and insecurely made a joke on the first day of volleyball preseason and a gracious senior laughed, revealing a safe place/person for me, particularly during the tumultuous early years of young adulthood.

How about when I was crushing hard on a particular guy in college and my first college friend would spend hours in my room allowing me to creepily recount my interactions with said guy and comfort my often ridiculous complaints when "there was no hope"? Spoiler: I ended up marrying him. Apparently, I wasn't too creepy. (Yes, I was. The Lord is gracious, y'all).

Or when we were getting married and 5 girls from various seasons in my life stood beside me in matching blush dresses, solving problems and putting out fires I'll never have to hear about.

Alternatively, I think about a friend from high school who drove 5.5 hours on multiple occasions throughout college to see me in volleyball games and theater productions without my prior knowledge simply to show her support for me in my every endeavor.

These are only a few examples, some big and some small, some happy, some hard. Some of the friends in these stories are still around. Others aren't. I'm a firm believer that some friends are for some seasons. Savor those sweet seasons. I also believe some friends are lifelong. Either way, in each of the previous examples and in the other times in my life that I've reaped the true benefits of friendship, these big moments have been preceded by the work of building that relationship. You see, I've recently learned that the work of friendship is done in those times of laughter. It's done in the conversations over coffee and in the shared experiences. No moment is too small or too insignificant to be a building block for a relationship. While the moments of grand support or small gestures during a great need are so important, its the minuscule moments before this that pave the way. The act of daily living (and hopefully laughing!) together is the true work of friendship. The support, shoulder to cry on and encouraging cards? Those are just the fruit of that labor. Sure, there are also hard conversations to be had, secrets to be shared and hard relational work to be done. These lead to deep and quality connection. But those, like the big moments, are few compared to the small, ordinary moments. Many small moments provide us with the people we will need in the far less frequent big moments.

God answered my prayer for friends in our current season and showed us that he has been faithful to do so in the past, as well. But the true answer to that prayer was the insight that while the big moments with friends are a beautiful gift, it's the small moments with our people that make that gift such a treasure. I'm learning that friendship isn't a noun. It's a verb that's lived out in daily, ordinary moments with our people so that our big ones, as well as theirs, are a little happier, a little less lonely, a lot funnier or maybe even a little less scary. So treasure the small moments. Plan the coffee date. Send the text of the funny thing your kid (or dog) just did. Invite them over for dinner. Pick up the phone for a "what's new?" conversation.  Take a walk or watch the movie. You're building a foundation. You're paving the way. 

What are your favorite memories, big or small, with your people?  When has a friendship made of small moments led to a friend showing up in a big moment?


  1. This is a beautiful post, you are truly blessed. Also, so important to look for the good in everything, great outlook on life :-) Katie x

    1. Katie,

      Thank you for your kind words! You are so right! Looking for the good in everything is critical to our joy!

  2. I'm so so happy that people surrounded you with love during the hard times, and you're right that it's the little moments that pave the way for deep friendships supporting you in the big moments. Your encouragement at the end is such a challenge to me--to reach out and make that effort! :)

    1. You are such a great example of love in the little AND big moments!