Flowers of Friendship

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Photo by Jim Collins

It started as an idea while we enjoyed frozen yogurt outside on a sunny afternoon. It wasn’t the first time Linda Patton and I talked about getting our mothers and longtime friends together, but this time we chose a date and made our plans.

Linda and I have known each other for decades, and our mothers have known each other even longer. Linda and I grew up in Newport and, because our mothers were involved in some of the same activities, we often saw each other at different events throughout the year. Our mothers developed a wonderful group of women friends through their different church involvements, volunteer organizations, bridge, tennis and other community groups.

They hosted luncheons and sent flowers for special events in each other’s lives. Their husbands became friends, and over the years many of our families took trips together. Because we played with the daughters in these families, Linda and I were often in these same families’ carpools and swimming pools.

While those of us in the younger generation were busy growing up and going off to college, our mothers deepened their connection. These women became far more than just bridge and tennis partners. They became close friends, companions, and confidantes through the changes and challenges of the years. They shared their lives, and they shared their love of each other’s husbands and children.

When those of us in the younger generation began getting married, those mothers faithfully and graciously hosted luncheons and wedding showers for us. They sent flowers. A few years later when we began having children, these same women showed their love and commitment to us yet again by hosting baby showers for us.

Over the years these women deepened their love for each other as well as developing and deepening their love for God. They prayed for each other, and they prayed for us.

Linda and I developed a deeper friendship, too. We’ve shared church groups, Bible studies, biking and hiking groups together. Our husbands became friends and we’ve gone on trips together.

Often when Linda and I get together, we talk about those wonderful women who are such an important piece of our pasts. We’ve prayed for those women as they have weathered the storms of life, we’ve ached at their heartaches, and we’ve cried with them at funerals of some of their beloved husbands and other family members.

When Linda and I shared yogurt and stories about the rich heritage and loving legacy of those women, we decided it was time for us to thank them. It was our turn to host a lunch, our place to give them praise and thanks for the many ways they were there for us. It was our place to give flowers. We invited just the daughters, though each of their husbands and each of their sons have played important parts in our lives too.

We had our luncheon recently at Linda’s home and I smile thinking about it.

Linda welcomed them by saying: “As I have looked back to previous years, one of the positive landmarks is you women, you embraced us, you stretched out your hands and your hearts. You gave so sweetly and generously, and as young women, we felt valued by you, and loved by you. You were examples to us of godly women living out their faith. You exemplified strength, dignity, caring, wisdom and friendship. You poured so much into us, and we wanted to say thanks and let you know that those showers and that love have meant so much to us; it wasn’t forgotten or unappreciated.”

We shared laughter, tears, and stories while enjoying our meal and savoring our memories.

I said that we daughters were excited to give back in a little way, all that those special women had given us for all of our lives.

“You have modeled grace and you have modeled growth.” I said. “You have shown us that love is to share and life is to serve; You have taught us how to rejoice in joy, and how to handle heartache; You have embraced, us, encouraged us and equipped us; You have shaped up, shared with us and showered us; You are examples of dignity, hospitality, humility and generosity; You have lived in ways that remind us that life is a gift from God to be opened, appreciated and shared everyday. We love, honor and celebrate you for all you have done, but especially, for being you.”

I marveled at every woman around the table. God made each unique and wonderful, each a precious flower gathered together, creating a bouquet of beauty with a lasting fragrance of friendship.

Cindy can be reached at [email protected].

 

 

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