Golden Sessions

Marshall and I have a most amazingly talented, diverse, creative, life-loving, life-giving group of friends that we have the privilege of gathering with once a year for soul-purpose. Yes, purposeful time to splay open ourselves, our marriages, our hopes realized and hopes crushed over the year past, and lay out our dreams for the coming season. And the most delightful part is that this rich conversation takes place over the most divine spread… there is something about perfectly appointed food and drink that draws out the deepest truths, you know?

There are six couples, our original crew of 4 having grown, and this is our 8th year together. There was a time when the women met weekly, the men more sporadically, and yet children and moving and “life” has made it so that months might go by between visits. Yet, the foundation was laid, and this tradition has held through the transient years, and it is amazing the trust and vulnerability that comes on this magical night of the year when we gather with such purpose. Each of the couples might share for up to a half hour, tracing back through the years’ highs and lows, pondering aloud what might lay ahead. Truth be told, tears and wine flow freely {the men take the cake on the tear front} and somehow things emerge from each of us that surprise and comfort and teach and encourage all.

And it doesn’t hurt that the most extravagant of potluck meals is served… Miso black cod, mushroom risotto, pancetta wrapped rosemary pork cooked in apples, butternut squash and kale salad, grilled broccolini, crusty french bread, zesty apple crisp and the most silky of chocolate mousse in a graham cracker crust. I know. My mouth is watering.

But truly, while the tastes in my mouth were inviting and explosive and sultry and decadent… the experience of my heart was so much more. I was so touched by the fact that, around this table, there could be 12 people in similar life stages, with so much in common, and so much not in common, health issues and loss, new life and celebration, success and perceived failure, healing and restoration, and brokenness and fear. We shared deeply and drank in wine and truth and let each persons words mingle in some deep place inside. There were these moments of nodding around the table, moments of laughter and well placed cuss-words, moments of deep sorrow, and even deeper affirmation.

And I think after we prayed and the men labored over the dishes, and we hugged and smiled through tears and hugged again and said let’s see each other sooner than later, we left better; we left more whole, less alone, with more hope, and greater courage. I know I felt known and so very thankful and so very privileged to be let in on the deepest parts of these precious souls.

And I can’t help every year but to recall one of my favorite lines from C.S. Lewis about friendship. He sums it up far better than I ever could… and I pray you have a friendship or two like this….that you ask the hard questions and go to the dark places and wait deep into the silence after someone has seemingly finished answering, because there is more to say. And I pray that you could call out in one another the truths of who you are and how you are loved and that we are in this together.  This is the fullness of life. The heights and the depths experienced in the sweetest and most honest friendships. Cheers.

 Golden Sessions

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