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It all started...hmm, when did it all start? Honestly, I don't know the exact moment it all started. I only know that it was a while ago, closer to a long while ago. Deep inside there has been this hunger, this wanting, this I so wish I had this. A recent visit from a lifelong friend threw open the doors of truth and insistently whispered loud "This is not a want. This is a need. I need a friend. No, I need friends in the plural. More than that, I need to be a friend."

Twelve years. It had been twelve years since my friend and I had seen each other. Twelve very long years with very little contact. Emails and phone calls here and there but not much. We are, after all, busy wives and mothers. Both of us have been smack dab in the middle of busy. We have known this and that we still love each other and are both hoping for that vague "someday" we will be able to get together. Because we do love each other and because we both know the other is busy living life several states away, we do what every other woman does. We suck it up and keep on living, but for me, somewhere along the way, unbeknownst to me, something was drying up inside. There was a place in me getting hard.

When my friend called and asked if we would be home and would it be ok if she and her family stopped in for a visit? I was speechless, for a while. Yes, yes, please do, please do come. Two days later my family was greeting her family. All were smiling and some were crying. That first hug. I didn't cry outside. I was too excited, but inside? Inside something cracked. Something hard cracked wide open, and I knew. I knew what I hadn't been able to figure out for so very very long. Twelve years is too long. I need my friend, and maybe it's arrogance on my part, but I think that she needs me. We don't need to be next door always together never apart, but we do need each other. We need hugs, emails, laughs, talks, visits, tears, snorts, huge dill pickles, we need each other.

God knew. He knew I needed her, and He divinely orchestrated a gift of love. He knew I needed my "Bestus Bud" friend. Not just any friend, my friend who has been my friend since we were 5 years old. The friend who knows all there is to know, my uglies, my bad traits, my good ones, and loves me still. The friend whose basement stairs I fell down everytime I went down them. This is the friend I have had a Merle Norman makeover with and snuck upstairs for a late night pickle run alongside. Of course I woke the entire house when I fell down the stairs, but that's beside the point. Sometimes in the middle of right now we need to be with someone who loves us from back then. She knows all about permed hair of bygone days. Her mom gave me one of those perms.

When goodbye time came, my friend and I hugged a real deal hug like only real friends know how to give, gathered our children back , waved and waved and waved and waved and then? Then we cried. Both of us cried. Twelve years is too long dear ones. Way too long. Don't wait twelve years. We need friends. We need people around us who have known us since when and love us still. We need them desperately and they? They need us too. Some call this the need of community. I don't know what the best term is. I just know I need it, and so do you. In the middle of crazy busy, appointments, education, work, family, we need friends. Not only do we need friends, we need a place to gather together with them. Even 14 month old Victorious Man of God knows this.

VMOG diligently circles the dining room table looking for the weak link, the chair that didn't quite get pushed in completely. If he can find a chair sticking out just a bit, he can climb on it and from there get onto the table. Victory! His victory is short-lived, however. For after a few moments of singing out a series of victory crows, he realizes that he is stuck on an island of his own making. There aren't any brothers or sisters to play with up there. There isn't anyone up there except for him, and that table looks a lot higher from on top than it did from below. His beloved blankie isn't up there either. What he worked so hard to achieve isn't anything he really wanted after all. It's lonely and scary. The best place, the most fun, the safest, is together with the ones who love him.

Where we gather isn't important. What matters is that we gather. That we open our arms wide, gather in those we know, welcome those we don't, and love each other true. There is much to be said for real people living real life together. Call it community, call it a village, a neighborhood, whatever. Just remember to call. Real life includes real people. Real people need each other. All of us need real.

Because we truly do need real, I am taking a deep breath and asking a favor. When this blog was begun, my desire was that it be a gathering place where friends pop in to share and visit. With the exception of a few faithful commenters, Abundance House has not become the place of friendly conversation I envisioned but a one-sided monologue. No one wants to constantly read singular conversations; it isn't that enjoyable talking with myself either. So, could those of you who do pop in for visits please leave a comment? Even if it is just a quick little "hey there!"? Thank you! It would mean so much to me.

Of course, if you wanted to leave a much longer comment, that would be great too. Just please, do feel free to join in and comment. Also, please feel free to forward any and every post you enjoy to friends, family, post on facebook, however you share online. It's time for us to gather together. It's time for all to live together real.

Welcoming friends to a gathering place,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

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