Stressful Times? Fill Up on Friendship

The last time you hung out with your closest friends, what did you do? Because if you didn’t laugh so hard your sides hurt, or leave feeling like life was a little better, it might be time to start a dinner club. Here’s a peek into ours from this weekend, and why everyone should be a part of something like this (especially when times are tough).

The night’s warm. As the sun sets, candles flicker on the tables. The smell of ribs on the grill, Italian wine, homemade bread and fragrant trees fill the air. A few chairs away, somebody erupts into laughter over an ongoing joke in the group. Someone else shares a challenge at work. I’m just enjoying being able to listen to it all since the kids are with a sitter. My heart and stomach couldn’t get more full if I tried. And the best part? We get to do this every other month!

For the past 5 years, Gary and I have been in a group with 4 other couples – all great friends. One of the women in the group set it up, and we rotate having a meal at one of the couples’ homes every few months. We have wonderful food, even better conversation, and plenty of wine… but very little whining despite the fact that over the years we’ve been through lost jobs, lost homes, difficult births, difficult kids, health problems, marriage struggles, and parents passing on.

The recent night I described above was amazing. But one of the best things about the group is that every time we get together is that fun! Everyone brings their own style to the night they host and none of us know the definition of mediocre. We’ve had cheesy murder mystery nights (ok, I’ll fess up for that one), bar-b-que nights, breakfast-for-dinner nights, pasta nights, spa nights, dress up nights, pajama nights, and board game nights. Each couple serves what they can within their means and we all love it completely. Every. Single. Time.

Because at the core of it, on the nights we meet, all is truly well. Not because we all pretend we’re doing fine. But because each of us is fully loved for who we are, no matter where we are in our lives, jobs, or parenting. Our marriages are fully supported no matter the difficulties that sometimes come. It’s a moment I can count on every few months where I can be entirely me and love my friends wholeheartedly. And a place where I sense God’s love for me and others. Something for which I am utterly grateful. Something I can not imagine life without.

So, to my friends in dinner club – thank you for many amazing evenings together! Even more than that, thank you for your friendship and support over the years. Here’s to many more to come!

And for my friends online and elsewhere – what are your fun traditions with friends?

-Laurie

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