GWA = Girls' Weekend Away.
Five years ago, some close friends decided to make an annual trip to Hocking Hills and rent a cabin in the boonies for a weekend in November. Now it's grown to 16 girls, and I am blessed that they invited me, that I've been able to attend three years now, and that I've gotten to know each and every one of them. I'm proud to call them all my friends.
GWA is a relaxation weekend without kids and husbands and jobs pulling us in different directions. It's a reunion weekend for old and new friends to catch up and laugh and cry and reconnect. It's a celebration weekend where we don't take a moment for granted, where we appreciate each other and ourselves. It's a perfect weekend...
There are dance parties and campfires and drinking and eating and napping and gluttonous behavior in all varieties. It’s just a damn good time.
This year we were in a new, beautiful cabin and had extraordinary weather. The new place is very close to Old Man's Cave, so we decided to go for a hike there on the warm, sunny Saturday afternoon. This place is really something to see, a magnificent display of God’s artistry that he used when he created these rock formations and trees and waterfalls. It was humbling.
Along the path I noticed that there were trees growing out of the rocks. Literally. The roots weren’t anchored in fertile soil where it makes sense that a beautiful tree would grow. They were wrapped around rocks, sprouting up from cold, hard boulders and reaching up to the sky just as perfectly as the trees in the forest did. It proved to me that life…that good prevails against all odds.
And, in my always overly emotional and cheesy way, this reminded me of my friend Nichole. She is the one who invited me on my first GWA and has become one of my favorite people in the world.
Nichole’s childhood wasn’t the worst or most unimaginable. But it was hard. And crazy. And cold. But here she is, a strong, beautiful woman who married a wonderful man and has built a family with him - a loving, warm, compassionate, strong family. Lots of people who have difficult beginnings seem to continue in the same vein, they perpetuate the cycle of crap that surrounded them as kids. But Nichole didn’t. She is smart and strong and found her way out, and has built a happy and healthy life for herself and her kids.
Forgive the utter lame-o cheesiness, but she is that strong, beautiful tree that grew from a rock. And I love her for that.
So that was my GWA this year. I laughed, I cried, I got stuck coming up the driveway, I was (as always) introspective and cheesy, I made new friends, I soaked in my old friends, I thanked God for his blessings, I ate good food, I drank a little wine, I danced, I flashed…
And I rescued a sick kitten. But more about that next time.