We sang, wrestled with beat, rhythm, harmony and key. With every attempt our voices grew stronger, more confident, the sound more harmonious. In the end we fancied a distinct likeness to the 70's pop group ABBA. Well, we had been at practice for an hour and a half by then; perhaps we were delusional--or maybe we just really, really sounded good.
We spilled out of the church into the coolness of night long fallen. Car doors slammed, assaulting the silence, headlights beamed and motors sped us away to our homes.
As I drove, the result of our efforts made me think about things hard won.
There are battles in my life I have not yet won. They are testimony to my human frailty, weakness, selfishness, self indulgence, and self deception, but I haven't given up; I am still on the journey.
I have some hard won relationships and those I cherish more than words can fully express.We have wrestled with notes that jarred and wrong keys and practiced our friendships with tears of frustration, misunderstanding, jealousies, anger and hurt. We didn't give up though, because we loved one another.
The prize is true friendship; trust; grace; understanding; acceptance of weakness; and love.
Every time one of my friends graces one of my blurted and too blunt sentences with the words, "But I know you," and we both understand that means the words were interpreted somewhere between mouth and ear, and every time a small thing that shouldn't even hurt, matters, we are leaning into the gift of "hard won" friendship.
We are reaping a harvest from fields dug over, sown with seeds of prayer, long, often painful conversations; and watered with tears of hurt and laughter.
A thing hard won is a very big deal.