It’s been almost exactly a year since I met Toni.
Oh, we’d met many times before, but I never expected to become friends. Toni is a teacher and a coach at the school my kids attend. She’s a few years older than me. We’re in completely different phases of our lives. We aren’t birds of a feather, if ya know what I mean.
But one day in the end of May last year, I was standing in the kitchen, opening mail. I had a note from Toni. It was a simple thank you note, but at the bottom she wrote, “Let’s have lunch soon!” and gave me her phone number. I knew it wasn’t just a passing of words.
I knew she meant it.
Summers for me are even a little more hectic than the school year. I’m constantly trying to convince myself that I can work, sitting by the pool, watching the boys play, and promising I won’t socialize, only to find my laptop never opened. I’m ridden with mommy guilt wanting to play and needing to work.
So I set Toni’s card up like a little tent on my desk, to think about it.
I could ignore it and pretend I thought it was pleasantry, OR I could send her a text and say, “Let’s get together”. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine what we’d talk about or what we’d find in common. But, I couldn’t get past the nudging in my heart to reach out to her.
So I did.
We met for coffee June 20th of last year. I really didn’t know what to expect, but when I walked in, I was greeted with a big, sincere hug. What unfolded next was non-stop conversation between two women making a connection. Our allotted time flew past and I ended up having to rush out to go pick up the boys, wishing I could stay.
I learned so much that day.
Of course, I learned a lot about Toni, but I learned a lot about life. I’ve learned so much from our friendship and I was reminded of it in a big way this week. Here are 3 things that stand out right now:
- Your dearest friendships might come from unexpected places. I never expected to become friends with Toni. I assumed we’d be casual acquaintances at most. I wasn’t looking for more close friends. I was only looking for more time to spend with the ones I already had. I had NO idea how much I would need and appreciate her friendship this year.
- New friends introduce you to more new friends. The second time we met, Toni asked me to do a writing challenge with her and two other friends. Every rational part of my brain was saying, “Um, no way sister” and I heard my lips utter, “Sure”. That challenge brought me two other new close friends who are treasured gifts in my life. It was literally life changing for me.
- You’ll understand later. I didn’t understand then, why we were becoming friends. I do now. Not only did the writing challenge open me up to deeper, more authentic conversations and connections, those connections have proven time and time again to be life-giving to me at times I really needed them. They’ve given each of us opportunities to give and support one another in real times of need that we could have never expected.
If Toni hadn’t asked me to lunch and I hadn’t eventually taken her up on it, my life would really look a lot different today.
Who do you need to have lunch with?
Who’s been wanting to grab coffee and you’ve been too busy?
I’m not implying you should say yes to everyone. Or invite everyone you meet out on the town. No way. But you know, in your spirit, who you feel nudged to connect with.
To more love,