There people in our lives who have always managed to love us no matter what ...
Through differences of opinion.
Through everything life has thrown at us.
And these people are the ones we know will always be there for us. These were some of the people I spent the evening with last night.
I consider every member of this family to be my dear lifelong friends. We go way back. But more important than how far we go back is that we've gone forward together, too. We used to be intertwined by roots and branches of a shared way of life. In the last ten years or so, we have all gone in different directions away from those roots. But we've stayed connected. We used to see each other at least four times a week. It's different now. We have to plan our get-togethers. And they are fewer and further apart. But the bonds of our hearts have never changed. And that is something I am so very thankful for.
On the drive home last night, I told John how important it was to me to maintain these close connections. I explained to him how the Linder/Snelling families had always been there for me in difficult times as well as in many happy times. There were years I would have had nowhere to go (for an extended family gathering) on a holiday if not for them adopting me and making me a part of their family; years when I was suffering from painful rejection. And having them to welcome, love, and affirm me got me through days that would have otherwise been very long and difficult. I will never forget.
It doesn't matter that we've sometimes had differences or misunderstandings or hurt each other's feelings. It's not important that we share the same opinions on everything (which is good, because we don't). What matters is that our bonds of friendship have endured through everything life has thrown at us. We value each other. Therefore, we have forgiven each other for every wound ever inflicted. We were never willing to let go of our friendship over a disagreement, a hurt, a failing, or even a harsh word. These are friends who have held onto me (despite MY flaws) just as I have held onto them. That is something I hold very dear in life. And these are people I hold very dear ...
I'm kind of in the middle (age-wise) between my friend Dee Dee and her daughters (Kellie, Sheryl, Janette and Katie). One big sister and four little sisters. That's what they are to me. That's what they'll always be.
Happy 40th, Sheryl!
Thanks for never letting go!
I love you!
(And the same goes for the whole family!)