May 12, 2023

Joyful Witness / Kimberly Pohovey

Be sure to take friends as you journey through life

Kimberly PohoveyThroughout my life, I’ve been blessed with the most amazing friends. Some friends I grew up with, some friends I made in college, other friends were co-workers. I met friends in all the cities in which we lived. I have befriended my husband’s friends. There have been friends who are neighbors and even friends who came into my life for just a season. As I’ve walked through life, I have come to understand that it’s best to journey with friends.

A few weekends ago, I was blessed to spend a weekend in a rented house in Brown County with nine of my treasured high school friends. I can’t recall the last time I belly-laughed that much; my cheeks ached by the end of the weekend. Our time together was filled with food, drinks, shopping, crafts, games, ’80’s music, stories and lots of laughter. But the best part was just being in communion with these women I have known forever.

We updated each other on our lives and families and, of course, reminisced about our younger days. While playing a game one evening, I just kept looking from one woman to the next and thinking about memories I made with each of them. As I studied their faces, I saw the teenagers they once were. It dawned on me that we still essentially had the same personalities.

There is the friend who cheers us all on, the artsy type, the mother hen of the group, one who embodies sunshine, the one who is quick-witted, the sporty one, the introspective friend, the career-driven one and the brainiac. Apparently, I’m still the group organizer.

I went from kindergarten through high school with one of the girls; first grade through college with another. The rest I met in high school, and my life has been enriched ever since. Through life’s ups and downs, we have remained close. The busy years between graduating high school and now have been filled with marriages, children, parents passing, children passing, a spouse passing, all of life’s challenges, and too much cancer. And yet, when we reunite, we pick up not where we left off, but where we first began. We are carried through time to relive our youth and the fun and pure goodness of the collective friendship we share.

Some of us worshipped at Mass together at St. Agnes Church in Nashville during our girls’ weekend. We heard the walk to Emmaus story in Scripture. Throughout the Gospel reading (Lk 24:13-35), I couldn’t help but draw parallels between Jesus’ walk with his friends and the time I was spending with mine.

There are so many lessons to be learned from this Scripture, but hearing it that day in church, I heard it through the lens of friendship. The disciples’ hearts were burning, kindled by the love of Jesus’ presence. My heart was ablaze basking in the joy these women bring to my life.

I dined (way too much) with my friends, and in those times, I came to clearly recognize how each of them have impacted my life, much like the disciples recognized Jesus as he broke bread. And then there’s the walk itself—certainly a metaphor for life. And I thought: how blessed am I to journey with friends?

(Kimberly Pohovey is a member of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She is the director of major and planned gifts for the archdiocese.) †

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