The miracle of friendship.

I’m thinking about friendship today. I don’t have any pretty words on the topic, because when I think about my friends, I am speechless. All I can get out is one of those guttural Anne Lamott prayers – “Wow.”

Wow, God.

My friends might on my mind more than usual today because I turn 28 on Sunday, and I am spending the weekend surrounded by the friends I’ve walked with in so many different stages of life. All of these decadent relationships built on trust and laughter and sharing all IN ONE PLACE.

I can’t even process how amazing this will be.

Tomorrow I pick up my soul sister Julie from the airport. We met thirteen years ago on a missions trip to Romania when we were both on fire. (Hey, there’s a catchy title for a book!) Since then, we’ve walked through breakups and disappointment, college and messy careers, faith crises, marriage, moves, illnesses, deaths, and birth. And here we are.

A few weeks ago, I sent a text inviting her to my birthday party. She lives 700 miles away, and we see each other twice a year at best, so the text was more of a joke than anything. Ten minutes later, she texted to tell me that she had booked a flight.

“Pick me up in San Jose at 11:15,” she said.

To say I did a happy dance would be me trying to make my reaction sound cooler and more put-together than it really was. I ran through the house, shrieking, bouncing. I think I twisted my ankle jumping down the steps of our patio.


Julie and I in Liberia. LOOK AT MY HAIR.

Celebrating our fictional boy band, Ken-X. circa 2005.

Celebrating our fictional boy band, Ken-X. circa 2005.

Wow, God.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is Emily. We haven’t even been friends a year, and she lives a block from me. But our relationship is deep and real and built on trust. We ran into each other at the park one day last summer. As our girls played on the swings, our conversations rushed quickly past name introductions to our vulnerable thoughts on faith and motherhood. (I HAVE TRIED THIS BEFORE AND IT SCARES MOST PEOPLE AWAY.) She found me at a time I was desperate for real connection with someone else muddling through motherhood.

What if I hadn’t gone to the park that day, I wonder. Wow, God.

Joining us Saturday is Meghan, my friend who came to me at a crucial time when I needed someone to tell me I was OK. And Laura, who I met when I was a pimply 18-year-old with braces and a broken heart–yet another friendship that has stood strong against the tides of change.
And so many other people I love will be there. My heart is thumping with happiness.

Photo on 2011-08-29 at 16.16 #3

Meghan and I, getting dressed up to see Stevie Nicks in Boston.


Yes. I’m wearing a knit hat that says “GEEK.” Laura and me, 2005.


Laura wasn’t in my wedding because our friendship was having a rough time when I got married (I was a bitch), but through forgiveness and the grace of God, she asked me to be in hers just last year.

The fluid, constant giving and receiving in a friendship does nothing less than a miracle in my heart. Friendships connect me to the earth and to God. My friends have stood by my side. They have called out my crap. They give me a space to belong. They show me the power that can be unleashed when a soul is truly known.

So here’s to friendship. Those people who have stuck with you? You know who they are. Call them today. It’s Friday after all, and none of us is as busy as we pretend to be. Don’t send text or Facebook message. Use that phone for its original purpose. I don’t need to call my friends today because I GET TO SEE THEM TOMORROW.

But I’m not gloating at all.

I spent last weekend with some incredible women Faith & Culture Writers Conference in Portland, and even though we are spread out around the country, I consider them my true friends. Here are some links to their writing. If you are looking for refreshing, vulnerable writing, read these women:

Alia Joy
Esther Emery
Briana Meade
Liz von Ehrenkrook
Sarah Torna Roberts
Ashley Hales
Cara Strickland
Velynn Brown

  • Sarah Torna Roberts

    I ALSO didn’t have someone dear to me in my wedding because I was a bitch! :-) Hope you are wonderfully celebrated this weekend. XO.

    • Carly Gelsinger

      Thanks! How did that friendship turn out? I am thinking of writing more on the topic later on.

  • Liz Von Ehrenkrook

    I didn’t have a bridal party at all because I was scared of losing friends.

    Also, my last name is misspelled but it’s the best misspelling ever that I kinda didn’t want to say anything. XD

    I’m so grateful we’ve met! I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

    • Carly Gelsinger

      Woops! I spelled it from the script on your blog header… I guess I’m not so great at reading cursive.

      • Liz Von Ehrenkrook

        Hahaha, I figured. :)

  • Laura Sierra

    This made my day. I love you, friend. And you’re too kind not to mention that the other reason that I wasn’t in your wedding was because I was a bitch myself. We have a lot of history and have gone through a lot together, but you and your friendship has been worth every second. Can’t wait to. Celebrate with you tomorrow!! Will it be as epic as your Mexican fiesta birthday?!?!

    • Carly Gelsinger

      I don’t know if that one will ever be topped…

  • Addie Zierman

    That IS a catchy title for a book!! ;-) So glad you have such a wonderful friend. WOW is right.

  • Esther Emery

    I missed this because it was my birthday, too. Happy birthday. Thank you so much for the shout out. I think you are amazing, too!

  • Ashley Hales

    I’m officially a very lame friend since I read and stayed silent. Ha! I consider you a very dear (even though new) friend. Thank you for the kind link to my words. Go get ‘em Carly!