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  • Writer's pictureHeather Simmons

A How-To Guide to Life: keep great friends.

My gaggle of girlfriends is the best. Seriously — you've never met a better group of girls than the ones I call my friends. They're hysterically witty, incredibly intelligent, and the most adventurous and courageous people I know. They're also the most heartwarming, hospitable, and generous ones out there. What's more, they all possess completely different personalities and strengths. We’ve got a nice Captain Planet “with our powers combined” groove going on, and to me it's an amazing picture of functioning community. It's the body of Christ coming together to move in unison. They’re my favorite people to laugh with, to get in trouble with, and to dream big dreams with. But they're also the first folks I call when things go sideways.

August was a hailstorm of big decisions for me. I had to say no to really great opportunities and say yes to really scary, uncharted ones. I’m in the process of closing doors that I thought I'd never see sealed shut, and opening ones that can either be amazing or awful. It could really go either way. These buddies listened to me verbally process, provided genuine wisdom, and patiently waited while I moaned and complained about life. About 3/4 of them had their own shit storms brewing, so you know, I'm the worst.

The gift I was given in the midst of this was that for the first time in about two years, we were all in the same room when it happened. I was surrounded by my tribe physically, and it was such a comfort! They carried me and encouraged me the entire week, and it. was. so. helpful. I came home with so much resolve, with my cup overflowing. We do a great job showing up for one another in a digital sense: we text encouraging things, we snatch moments of time to talk on the phone, we email when we can. But that one week together reminded me that there is no substitute for walking through life holding hands. I want more of that. We have a plan that will pull us all back together in retirement, (more on that in about 30 years) but in the meantime I'll use my favorite digital platform to thank them for shouldering my burdens this past month. This is for Team Tallulah.

To Jess: I promise to show up for you when times get tough, or even as a spontaneous surprise. But only in summer. You better hope tragedy doesn't strike in say, February, or I'll have to phone that one in. Move somewhere less cold and I'm 100% on board. Just kidding— I love you with all of my heart and am strapped in for life. Thank you for being my significant other. There aren't any words good enough to explain the lengths I'd go to make you happy. Saving for a plane ticket now…

To Tess: I promise to help you with all ten of your kids and will gladly teach the arts and crafts section of your home school curriculum. I will show up for you when you preach in a public setting and will start the official Tess fan club whenever you give me the green light. I love the light that you shine and the heart that you have. I see another beach trip in our future.

To Laura: I promise to work out all the shenanigans we’ve cooked up and will execute them to the fullest. I am fully and unconditionally behind any projects or plans you have for life, and will be the first person to say “I’m in” when your plans could land us in a cult or in jail. Cause I'm loyal. I adore you muffin, and your zest for life.

To Meg: I promise to always have time for you, to always make space for you, because you are a sharpener and a refiner. Your wisdom and intelligence are something this world needs more of. I am a better person because of you. I promise to make your bed every day if you let me. Now give me your blonde hair and we’ll call it even.

To Katie: I promise to be your prayer warrior. I promise to share giggles and sarcasm with you on the weekly. I promise to be your long distance pen pal and all around cheerleader for forever. Your love for the Father and for people is so real it hurts. Thank you for being the greatest encourager I know.

To Winston: I promise to always help you pack your house. And snuggle with you. And hold you accountable. I promise to always call you Gal Pal Winnie. I'm consistently amazed at your generosity and heart for others. Your spirit overwhelms me in the best possible way. When things go sideways overseas, I'll be there. Saving for a plane ticket to see you too…

Guys, I hope you have a team like I do. I hope you have community and a sense of home and women who carry you through things. If not let me know and we’ll sort it out. Don't fly solo on this one. Find your people and squeeze them so hard.

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