Back in December I made a mistake. I’m sure I made more than one, but this one hit me on the head.

Every December for many years I have spent one evening out with a group of friends. We exchange gifts, talk about the year past and the year coming. We laugh. And sometimes cry.

This year most of December flew by, and I had not heard from anyone about setting up our usual December outing. So I sat down to write a quick email.

See, I had figured things out.

I assumed that I had not heard from anyone because they were all too busy this year. I figured it this way: Karen had a new job, a busy husband, and two busy teenagers with lots of Christmas concerts. Karyn had piles upon piles of papers to grade at the semester’s end added to a trip home to see piles and piles of nieces and nephews. Melody had lots of Bible Study Fellowship commitments, as well as teenage kid activities and a busy husband.

I assumed finding a time together would add to their stress levels — didn’t want to do that. So I suggested, in my “I’ve-figured-it-all-out” email, that we move our December tradition to January.

Their response? No! Everyone weighed in with some version of, “I look forward to this every year. I want to do it.”

We eventually settled on a night (after about 20 emails), and I offered to pick up everyone. As I chauffeured my friends to the restaurant, I apologized for my “I’ve-got-you-figured-out” attitude.

On the way home, after good food, good conversations, and a small gift exchange, I said, “I really like our time together. I would like to do this on a regular basis. Like every month. Could we pick a day and just put it on the calendar? Whoever can come, comes.”

These women challenge me, encourage me, strengthen my faith, make me laugh, and help me keep perspective. I need them in my life on a regular basis — despite busy schedules and changes in life stages.

I refused to drop anyone off at home until we settled on a monthly day and time. Oh the power of being a chauffeur! We landed on dinner out the second Friday of every month.

So, Dear Reader, do you have a friendship (or friendships) that needs a bit of a tweak? Perhaps you have a friend whom you long to see but just haven’t connected with because of schedules. What will you do about it?

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