Awhile back I had the privilege of co-planning a surprise birthday party for a young woman turning 20. While I was really excited about being in on the planning for the event, what I didn’t think about was how that would revitalize my appreciation of friendship. It served as a pretty poignant reminder, especially now during these challenging times, of what it means to be in relationship with one another.
Part of my role as co-party planner was to make the invites for the party. It really seemed like no big deal, just send a few texts and keep up with the guest list.
I expected the responses to be, “Yeah sure, I’ll be there.” Something along those lines.
What struck me, however, was that every single answer said, “I wouldn’t miss it!”
The day of the party, traffic was a nightmare (shocker!) Literally my phone kept ringing, “Andrea, I’m stuck in traffic on 77/40 and I’m afraid I’m going to be late. What do I do?” Each friend that called me was audibly unhappy that they were going to miss the surprise.
A few even expressed that they were willing to drive as fast as possible so that they would be there for the surprise. I cautioned against a more speedy arrival and told them we’d figure out a way to prolong the arrival of the guest of honor so that it could indeed be a surprise.
Luckily, everything fell into place. The guests were there when they were supposed to be. The birthday girl was quite surprised, and the rest of the party went off with significant success.
It was a success, however, not because an inordinate amount of money was spent on the event. Or because it was held in an exotic location with novelties every hour. It was a success because this group of 20-year-olds – they know what it means to be a friend. They know and live “Not missing it!”
“I wouldn’t miss it.”
That is what we say, do and what we offer for the people we love.
COVID-19 and quarantine have given me some time to reflect on time/energy and ask myself am I putting it where it matters.
Being a part of that birthday party reminded me that I have people in my life that have so graciously said to me over and over again, “I wouldn’t miss it.”
They’ve shown up at events for my children.
A surprise party for my doctorate.
Moving me into a new home.
And the funeral of my father.
Time and again, they’ve shown me with their actions that they wouldn’t miss it.
Renowned priest, professor, and author Henri Nouwen writes, “It often turns out that the one who gives us the most comfort is not the person who says, ‘Do this, say that, go there’; but the one who, even if there is no good advice to give, says, ‘Whatever happens, I’m your friend; you can count on me.’”
The one who gives us the most comfort is the one who says, “I wouldn’t miss it!”
Maybe we can all be more intentional about “not missing it!” for the people we love in our lives.
It’s the mark of friendship. The mark of abiding love. The mark of Christ.

You are reading a Musing Meditation by Andrea Smith, Pastor, West Church, Lake Norman, Mooresville, NC.

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