We held the bi-annual meeting of The Porch Club a few weekends ago in Louisville, KY. We originally met in 2005 when we all worked at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville and we've continued our friendship by gathering together at least twice each year. I still live in Nashville, but the other three have moved with Kim in Jacksonville, FL, Carol in Tulsa, OK and Jackie in Louisville. We always have fun at our meetings when we cook fabulous meals, drink some wine and get caught up on our lives. People who read my book, Chasing My Father, often say, “I wish I had a Porch Club.”
At our recent time together we started a more serious discussion about what makes The Porch Club special. We jotted down a few ideas over the weekend trying to describe what The Porch Club means to each of us but it was difficult to capture the right words.
When I arrived back in Nashville late that Sunday afternoon, I had a note from a friend of mine in Chicago. He’s never met any of the other ladies, and didn’t know I was working on a story, but his words perfectly describe The Porch Club. Here’s what David Waring wrote in 2011 in response to an alumni request to assist in writing a curriculum module for a second-year elective on Leadership at Cornell University:
Question #5. Beyond what you’ve written above, what single piece of advice would you offer today’s students?
Friends. Have a core group of friends. Really, really close. But friendships can have huge costs because that means YOU might need to be THE friend to another. Keep those bonds sacred. Be there for each other. These are “I’ll drop everything I am doing to be with you” friends. These friends are not just there to help you when your job disappears – that WILL happen – because a job search can be intellectualized. These friends will help you through tsunami-level emotional pain. You need friends to release your emotions to in a safe environment: curse, confess, cry, and be comforted. Friends to tell you the truth even if it is not what you want to hear. Patient friends to help you rebuild your life, one slow painful rebuilding brick at a time. Those core friends will help you to get through sickness, accidents, death, and evil. And at that future time when the worst is over and the light at the end of the tunnel appears, these friends will be with you to once again sing with gusto.
Thanks for the great advice, David. Yes, it is what The Porch Club means to me.
Blessings, my friend,