The Grace of Friendship: A Look Back at October

October seems like months ago and I truly cannot believe I am only now looking back on it. I am sorry for the delay. I paused and thought about simply skipping this look back. It would certainly remove the “shame” at not having posted as quickly as I intended. But it also would diminish the gratefulness I see, the gratefulness I remember when I look back. 

So bear with me. Pretend Halloween was just yesterday.

I love October. It is the heart of fall. Leaves change colors. Bugs die off, so being outdoors is cool and pleasant. It also holds my birthday. And though birthdays as a mom are slightly less exciting and a whole lot less self focused, I love celebrating. I imagine October as my birthday month: a month of celebrating me. Don’t worry, it’s not as selfish as it sounds. I don’t expect all to know it’s my birthday or even to celebrate me. Instead, in my heart I imagine the beauty surrounding me having been created for me. For my enjoyment. The beauty of October was made for me. The love of my Creator, evident in this annual gift: October. 

And this particular October was also filled with people. My people. I sit and think about Meredith Grey and her people (yes, I have found my way back to loving Grey’s Anatomy after season 3). I wonder at who those people are in my life. And then, in times of crisis, I remember. I see them so clearly. My people. Though October was not a time of crisis, it was a time of people. A beautiful month of enjoying time, big and small moments, with my people.

I joined a book study with a dear friend of mine. I laugh at the way our friendship began and the depth we arrived at so quickly. I love being a part of something with other women. All longing to know more of who He is and His plans for us. I also began a book study this month. (If you are looking for a book to read, I cannot suggest Restless by Jennie Allen enough.) I have felt honored to sit among these women. To hear their hearts, to share in their stories. And that is the true grace of community, isn’t it? Grace mixed with honor. Shared hearts and stories. 

 
We watched massive amounts of soccer games for Man-Child. And at each one, we saw friends. We were able to enjoy time cheering on our son, while spending time in our community with good friends. Even if their son was on the opposing team.

We enjoyed seeing friends weekly at Awanas and at church. There is something beautiful about living amidst your community of close friends. It gives you the opportunity to live seen. Known. It is a desire that we all have – to truly be seen. This past weekend, I saw that need in my daughter. ‘Goose’ has found the beauty in being known. And the freedom in it. Because she was known and loved in her Awanas and church group – she was able to worship her Heavenly Father unabandoned. She danced and sang for Him, the same way she praises Him at home. The ways she finds difficult to express in other contexts. And for that, I am beyond thankful.

We celebrated friends with birthday parties and baby showers. We enjoyed time with people we love. We enjoyed the ease that comes when you are in the company of friends. We embraced the rest found in time spent with those you are closest to.We laughed at the fun conversations had. And we enjoyed the somber moments of reflection. We lavished love on those close to us, and felt that love returned tenfold. What a grace of true friendships.

We went apple picking. This is one of my favorite traditions: apple picking for my birthday at Royal Oaks Farm Orchard. This place has become a home away from home. It is a place where we feel known. A place were we feel peace. A place we feel a sense of belonging. And I’m sure a big part of all of that is the dear friends that operate the orchard. But oh the special comfort found when tradition and being known come together.

   

  

October also had Sweet Boy Child’s IEP meeting. But I was not alone. My dear friend, Emily, came and supported me. And the process was beautiful. Having a friend slowed the meeting down. It created an atmosphere of explaining. I felt heard and understood. And calm. And that was beautiful grace.

And of course, we had so much fun Trick-or-Treating. We spent time with my sister and her family, while greeting our neighbors and friends. It was a little cold, but really, candy + an adorable non-wrinkled Yoda + family + friends is just a great time.
And if you don’t follow me on Instagram, you should. Then you wouldn’t have to wait 18 days before you get to see me dressed as Princess Leia from the planet Hoth. (My husband thinks it’s hilarious that I just happened to have this vest because I liked it. Not because of it’s Star Wars/Back to the Future likeness.)

Time with friends is such sweet grace. It is something we easily take for granted. Except that we moved for community. We moved because living life with friends is important to us. And so when my birth month and community were weaved together, I could not help but feel celebrated and loved. What’s funny is, I didn’t see all the people and love when I was in the month, experiencing it. Taking it for granted. Allowing it to become common. But looking back at a month of coffee with friends, MOPS meetings, book studies, soccer games, and the simpleness of daily life – I feel overwhlemed by grace. The grace of friendship. And this, this dear friend, is why I love remembering. And why I won’t skip it. Even once. 

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