There people in our lives who have always managed to love us no matter what ...

Through differences of opinion.
Through pain.
Through misunderstandings.
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.

A close friend of mine (Sheryl Linder, above on the right) recently turned forty and her family threw a party in her honor last night. John and I drove all the way to Greenbrier (from Murfreesboro) to attend this party. And I am so glad we did. Not only was it a wonderful, fun evening; it was one of those opportunites to reconnect with people you love so much ... people you don't get to see as often as you would like to (or used to).

(Sheryl's parents ---------->)

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!)


Anonymous said…
we were really sad to miss the party. i loved your post and i love the linders.
Shari said…
Thanks, Danny. I kept thinking how perfect it would have been if you could have been there too! I told everyone you were officiating a wedding. But you guys were definitely missed!
Ron Turrentine said…
I sure wish that I could "like" blog posts! This one had a very sweet, warm, family vibe. I like that.

I too love Lucky & Dee Dee and their family. They will always have a special place in my heart. It makes me happy to see the people that I love staying connected like this with regular fellowship. Thanks for sharing this great post - and the pics! They're terrific!

Oh, and... Happy Birthday Sheryl! :)

Shari said…
Thanks, Ron. I had a warm, fuzzy feeling that carried over from last night into all of today. And you know me ... I have to express my feelings. But most importantly, I need to express appreciation most of all. If something happened to me tomorrow, I find comfort in knowing I would leave a big part of myself -- and my love for others -- here on this blog.
Larry said…
Shari: When was Sheryls Birthday? Mine was Sunday, the 15th, and it was sure great. tell Sheryl Happy Birthday for me. Thanks: Larry

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