Friday, June 08, 2007


Tonight we have reservations for four. Our good friends will join us for dinner in a rustic but attractive setting on a mountain road at a restaurant where the food is elegant, the accommodations small, and the ambiance perfect. The best part of the evening? The company and the conversation.

We love being with this couple. Our kids have grown up together. Their son was our daughter's seventh grade boyfriend, and both, now in college, are good friends still. We even traveled together with a group of families from our kids' school to Germany. We belong to the same church, and the wife and I have sung in the choir together. In fact, she's the one who urged me to join the choir. My husband and hers meet with some other guys from church on Friday mornings (6:00 a.m, to be exact) at the local country cookery just to hang out over breakfast. We spent a rainy Labor Day cruising the river in their pontoon boat and struggled to take the boat out of the rushing water. Our relationship with this couple is comforting and comfortable.

All our times together haven't bubbled with happiness. The four of us bemoan the roller coaster ride of parenting, as we try to figure out when to speak, when to shut up, where to hold on, and where to let go. We cried with them when, without warning, they lost their young daughter. They cried with us when my husband lost each of his parents within a few years. A big part of the comfortableness in a friendship lies in the seasons of life we've weathered together.

Relationships drift in and out of our lives, depending on the phase we're in at the time, the convenience of that relationship, and the effort we're willing to put into it. This couple and my husband and I, now with at least partially-empty nests, have less responsibility regarding our children. But we still have to work at getting together, because we're all busy with our careers, families, and lives. To us, it's worth the effort of picking up the phone, getting off the couch on Friday or Saturday night, and putting aside all the obligations calling our names to spend a comfortable evening with friends.