"There's nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons." - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The sun has barely risen and I'm in the air somewhere between North Carolina and Michigan. I am exhausted and my soul is full.
Twenty-four years ago I set off for college, looking for adventure and freedom and fun. I found all of that during my four years (and I learned a little along the way too). I made a lot of friends, but there is a group of women who have stuck by me...and I have stuck by them right back. We have seen marriages and divorces, witnessed births and deaths. We have lived close and thousands of miles apart. We have talked frequently and gone for months without a word. We have cried and smiled and argued and rolled eyes. And we have laughed...laughed so hard that the tears streamed down our cheeks...laughed into snorts and gasps of air...laughed holding onto to the nearest piece of furniture to steady our stance. We have laughed when something was funny and laughed when it was not appropriate at all to laugh. Some of us laugh when we are nervous and some of us laugh for no reason at all. We laugh with few words spoken, because we know each others' looks and exactly what they mean, we know the memories and all the stories and what the other is thinking (sometimes before they do). We laugh because we are just so happy to be with each other that there is nothing else to do but feel the joy and let it pour out of our giggles. We laugh because we love each other and a love like that feeds your soul. No matter what we have stepped away from in our lives, when we come together we always leave with a sense of peace in our hearts and a knowing that, through it all, we will stick by each other over and over again.
So when we came together this weekend to celebrate our 20th college reunion, it was not about the place or the degrees we had received, it was about the laughter. It was about the hugs I got last night that filled my eyes with tears as they whispered in my ear that they loved me and were inspired by me. I hope when I said thank you that they knew that they are at the core of what inspires me. I hope each laugh screamed loud and clear "You are amazing women and you are perfect just as you are!" I hope every hand held signaled the respect and admiration I have for the human beings that they are. I hope as we celebrated the 20 years that have passed since we graduated, they knew I was celebrating the 24 years I have been blessed to have them in my life.
As I checked out of the hotel this morning in the darkness and quiet before dawn, the woman at the front desk smiled at me and said "I have been watching your group all weekend and could just feel how happy you were to be together. It was so contagious it made me reach out to my girlfriends and tell them how much I appreciate our friendship." And my soul filled up a little bit more. Love so abundant that it burst out of our own little bubble and spread into the lives of those around us! So with eyes hardly able to stay open from the lack of sleep, I can't stop smiling...although my cheeks still hurt a little from all the laughter :)