I’ve heard it said, “friends for a reason, friends for a season.” There are friendships that come into our life, at a specific time and during a specific season, for reasons you might not know until later, but someday you see it–you see the reason. These are mutual friendships that follow the ebb and flow of life and may, for no specific reason and without any negative feelings, dissolve with the changing seasons. Looking back, it is easy to see how vital those ‘reason-season’ friendships are. How they got you through a specific time. How you needed that friendship, at that time and in that place.
Reason-Season friendships are important.
But there is another kind of friendship. The kind of friendship that transcends seasons and reasons. The kind of friendship that weathers storms, bridges distance, and outlasts time. These friendships are gifts on which a price tag can’t be placed. Treasures that are too precious to hold, but are felt in the depths of the soul.
I first met Sherri in college. She is one of The Girls of whom I am so proud to be a part. There is something about that shared experience. That, ‘we’ve been neighbors and said ‘morning’ as we walked by each other in the hall way with our hair wrapped in towels. The naive feeling of life will never be harder than this and then transitioning into the real world only to laugh at our own naiveté. Over the years since college, we went our separate ways, we found our footing in careers, we married tall men and had small babies. Life changed at lightening speed and time together was hard to find. But still, there is that thing. . . that deep bond that created a foundation from way back then that makes this kind of friendship one worth working for.
Just last December Chad and I woke early in the morning at an airport hotel to take a flight to NYC. I think it must have been 5 a.m. when I opened the door to our hotel only to see Sherri and Tyler standing there, suitcases in hand, ready to trek to The City with us. My shock and surprise, no doubt woke the entire hotel. Not only did they take the trip with us, but they matched us step for step, mile for mile as we walked the freezing cold city in a way only Type A people like us do. (I think we walked 15 miles that first day?) Sherri and Tyler are those kind of friends. The kind that show up. The kind that are up for adventure. The kind of friends who, after months apart, can pick up as if only days passed.
This family holds such a special place in my heart. The first time I photographed them, sweet Avery was barely walking and Kayden was about half the size he is now. Year after year, I see the way they grow, the way they change, and get a glimpse of the people they are becoming. As I stand back and watch my friend with her babies, I flash back to the days in college. I can still see us sitting together, talking. I can still hear the strength in her voice and they way she always asked me, how are you. . . really? When I watch my friend with her babies I see the years that have gone by. Wasn’t it just yesterday when we shared a wall? I see the years gone by in the way her strength has only become stronger and foundation even more grounded, her happiness more raw. And as wonderful as those days were, I look at Sherri with Tyler and their (not so little) babies and I feel the beauty in the passage of time. I see how beautiful life can be when we let go and allow it to bloom.
Sherri and Tyler are the type of people who you want to have as friends. They are the kind of people you want to see raising little people. They are the kind of people who make a difference every time they walk into the world. They are the kind of people who fill my heart with gratitude that I get to call them friends.