em & tara, canon digital rebel xti
In my early twenties, every Tuesday night I would hang out at an old abandoned fire house. Inside were about four velvety vintage couches placed side by side in the shape of a half moon; purple, red, orange and green along with big silky pillows covering the concrete floor. People of all genres sat snuggled up together sipping their coffees and sodas, listening intently. The cool guy standing to face the crowd looked a cross between a surf dude and a GQ model with his VW bus parked outside. It was a non-denominational gathering where folks that were turned off by organized religion but curious about an intimate relationship with God felt they belonged. There were lots of tattoos and piercings and bohemians and rebels. I was one of those people.
There was one story that the minister (who didn't seem like a minister but was one of us) told that I will never forget. He talked about how Jesus used to take a few of his most trusted friends to the Garden of Gesthemane to lay down his heart, be honest, raw and vulnerable. A place where He felt safe to spill and be transparent. Our minister named those friends "Garden Friends" and he went on to ask us to think about who the Garden Friends in our life were.
I recall each of us scanning the room, looking around at our friends. Some even closed their eyes to imagine all the faces, the friends in their life. One of my guy friends, after the night was over ran up to me, hugged me, twirled me around and said "YOU'RE my garden friend!!!" I mean, it was just the coolest concept and an analogy we could all resonate with.
Who are the friends we feel comfortable with to bring to our garden? Who do you trust with all of your heart to be safe and gentle with you throughout your journey?
Its something to really meditate on. I think it is so very important to be aware of who your garden friends are so that you can nurture those very sacred relationships. I feel the word garden so perfectly describes friendship and the idea that in order for there to be growth, it must be nourished and cared for, consistently. And when we put our energies into our friendship garden, watch the gorgeous blooms, the nectar, the beauty that springs forth within us.
Who are your garden friends?