Friends show up as strangers, it’s up to us to make friendships. Forever friends keep showing up in all the seasons of our lives. 

Sitting in the quietness of my friend’s finished basement with a pumpkin spice coffee, is a huge gift to my heart. Her guest room is welcoming and a familiar place like having a second home.

It has it’s idiosyncrasies like not great internet access unless you hold your device high in the air above your head, or go stand at the top of the basement staircase. These are first world problems for sure. Maybe not being able to have the world at my finger tips is a blessing in disguise on this trip.

In the stillness of the morning, I reflect on the adventures and all the laughter from the day before and it fills my inner cup with joy. It is worth every bit of effort to make time to be with people that deposit goodness in our lives. 

When God gives family, some come by birth and others come by choice and persistence to keep showing up in one another’s lives until our shared history together creates bonds of sisterhood and trust that can’t be broken. 

I don’t have a sister by blood, but I’m so thankful for the ones God has placed in my path. 

Friends come as strangers.

It’s up to us to reach out. To carve out time to cultivate a relationship. 

Friendships are born out of intentionality not commonality. They grow over time as our character, authenticity and vulnerability break down the barriers we build to protect our hearts. 

“Friendship isn’t something we passively receive. Friendship is something we actively do. It’s a gift we offer for free, not a demand we make with a stamping foot.” – Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriend: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships

Real friends are the people you can lift up the sides of your hair to show all the gray sprouting underneath, and they are the ones who will help you find the right color of dye to “wash that gray right out of your hair”.

True Friends will laugh with you until you can’t breathe at the fact that on this trip all of us adults are passing the “reading glasses” around so we can see what’s on the restaurant menu or that tiny label. Being in our mid-forties and beyond is catching up with our eyes. Thank goodness for a sense of humor and good friends to age with.

Forever friends will push you to step out of your comfort zone and hold your hand until you get to the other side of what scares you. They will share encouragement with you, telling you to “go for it” just for the experience, whether things pan out or not because it will stretch you as a person. Thank you Rosalie.

Best friends don’t take the credit, but you know if it wasn’t for them (and God) you wouldn’t have crossed the river that was just too deep for you to make it through on your own. These are forever friends. These are the forever friends that keep showing up!

The day before, our families all piled in the car and drove onto a ferry boat that took us across the river from St. Louis, Mo to Alton, IL. We drove on winding roads with a turn that took us on mountain trails while gazing at the on fire peachy, orange, and partially red leaf trees mixed in with all shades of green, yellow, maroon, and brown. 

Autumn in the Midwest is where I fell in love with all of the many shades and colors of fall.

We parked and walked up to lookout points, taking pictures with nature as our backdrop, laughing and talking, and taking turns being the photographer. 

We may have stumbled upon an outdoor wedding ceremony that couldn’t continue for a moment due to the crazy people acting loud and silly, who were oblivious to a bride showing up. So that is why there were people dressed up standing around waiting, at Eagle Roost Scenic Overlook on October 24, 2020, in Alton, IL. Now it all makes sense. 

Forever Friends Keep Showing Up

You just never know what is around the corner when you are having fun with friends.

A life-size chess set, larger than life fireplaces you could burn a whole tree in, views of a peaceful landscape, and a family-style dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls with real butter, coleslaw, and grenadine syrup added to our Pepsi is what we found inside the log cabin walls, built during the Great Depression of the 1930s, in the Pere Marquette Lodge and Restaurant

Forever Friends Keep Showing Up

The dinner we shared erupted into so much laughter. The serving tray collapsing throwing part of our dinner on the floor and eating fried chicken on napkins until our plates arrived, just added to the chaotic laughter and memories.

This is living.

This is loving life.

This is creating history together.

A wild hair of an idea, a last-minute seven and a half-hour drive, when you need a getaway, is so much more fun when friends are your destination. Revisiting old stomping grounds, your daughter rediscovering her birthplace and her people, and making a Trader Joe’s run just for fun.

October days, family by choice, and talking until 3 am on the night you arrive. These are the treasures of life. 

SkyTour rides in a gondola to the mountain top and back down with amazing views down the river as the city lights flicker in the far distance. These are the things we do with family and friends and a daughter who lives for these kinds of experiences. Golf cart rides, coffee and Sally Beauty store runs, and staying an extra night. These are the things friends do together.

Do it. Live. Be intentional. Capture the photos and tell the stories.

Fill up your cup with the drink of experiences, laughter, and friendships. Call them again. Ask one more time. Make plans. Follow through. Put in the effort.

Keep showing up to create the foundation of a forever friendship.

Best Friends - Forever Friends Keep Showing Up

God sends strangers. It’s up to us to make friendships. Some may not work out. Some may not last forever. This is part of life.

There will be friendships that stand the test of time. I’m so grateful for the friends in my life who have kept showing up, standing up, lifting up, and doing life with me whether we live close or many miles away from one another.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NKJ). Jesus is our best example of a forever friend. He is our forever friend. Even when we’ve lost our way and have stopped showing up, He never stops. He’s always there waiting patiently for our return.

Jesus knows the pain of being let down and the joy of those who choose to keep showing up in our lives.

Even when things feel awkward between you and a friend, give it a shot. Send the text.

Often what we think others think of us are lies the enemy whispers. They are worth fighting for and praying for. Life is gray and messy, not black and white, and all clean and tidy. “If I wait for my house or my life to be perfect before inviting someone into it, I might never let anyone come through the door.” Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended

The messes in our homes, our hearts and our relationships are so much more bearable with friends by our side cheering us on and loving us through it all.

Keep showing up my friend! Happy autumn!

With much love and grace,

Joelle Povolni

P.S. If you are struggling with finding friendships or not fitting in, maybe this post, When We Don’t Fit In, will be of encouragement to you.

Note: This post does contain an affiliate link which cost you nothing extra should you decide to purchase something. Thank you for being!

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