There were four glasses on the table. In the middle, one plate with dessert; four spoons pointing in different directions. It was a night for celebrating, but such a different kind of celebration than we’re used to.

These are the people I spend birthdays with. If we all happen to be in town, the ones who create a make-shift family to spend holidays and special occasions. The ones who are family. The ones who get together for new jobs, promotions, or other exciting life events. The top of the list people for exciting news. I was part of both of their proposal stories; I stood in both of their weddings. These are the people who I celebrate with.

Not only that, but I am all about celebrating. I love birthdays. (Specifically, I love shopping for birthday presents.) I love anniversaries of random events. I love all those crazy national holidays that aren’t real holidays. I love a good theme party more than any grown up should.

I’m the one who throws too many bridal showers (…soon to be baby showers), who starts the group texts, who makes sure people know there’s something exciting going on and WE’RE GONNA CELEBRATE, GUYS. That’s me. That’s always been me. That will, probably, forever be me.

But I’m learning celebrating doesn’t always look like what we think celebrating looks like. I’m learning it’s not only about gathering around people in their happiest moments. Sometimes it’s about rallying with people in the moments that matter most.

Celebrating a friend’s courage, even when it doesn’t make sense to most people. Even when it, on paper, is a bad situation.

Celebrating a year since a friend’s bad news – when it’s been a year of hell – because, Hey, look! We made it through a year. We can do this.

Celebrating a friend’s life situation, even when it’s not what anyone expected and not what she chose for herself. Yet celebrating that it’s hers and she is wonderful.

Celebrating a friend’s position to speak truth into someone else’s life, even when it’s at a cost she doesn’t want to pay.

Celebrating the stand, even when the war is still waging. Celebrating the small choice, even when the major decision is out of their hands. Celebrating the truth, when the lie is easier to believe.

We can celebrate steps into the scary unknown. Celebrate freedom even when it comes at a loss. Celebrate the anniversary of very un-fun moments. Celebrate the growth that is the result of unwanted pain.


Sometimes celebrating looks like candles and confetti. Sometimes it looks like balloons and bouquets of flowers. Other times it looks like pizza on the couch, ice cream cones and a walk, coffee on a Saturday morning. Sometimes it’s extravagant and other times it’s very, very normal.

Sometimes celebrating is loud speeches and fanfare, Instagram posts and pictures shared. Other times it is whispered truths and shoulder rubs, sentences spoken through mere eye contact and private smiles.

I like all of that. I like the big or the small, the public or the private. I like any and all celebrating – when it is happy celebrating.

I like when celebrating someone is “I’m happy for you” and “How exciting!!!!” and “Best news EVER”. It’s a whole lot harder when its more of “Look how far you’ve come” and “I’m proud of how you handled this” and “You’re gonna get through this”.

I want celebrating to be easy. I want it to be simple. I want to be able to buy the perfect present, stick a perfect bow on top, attach the perfect card; I want there to be a right way and a wrong way and know I definitely did the right one. But I’m finding the harder celebrations come with so much unknown. No perfect gift, no perfect sayings, and especially no list of right or wrong. I’m also finding the celebrations born out of the tension are the more meaningful ones.


There were four glasses on the table. In the middle, one plate with dessert; four spoons pointing in different directions. It was a night for celebrating, but such a different kind of celebration than we’re used to.

We sat and we sipped beers and we shared the strange dessert I insisted on ordering. We traded off between sarcasm and sincerity; we encouraged and affirmed and nudged little reminders of truth where we saw fear trying to sneak in. We laughed and we quietly nodded our heads and we rolled our eyes and we celebrated.

That’s what we do. We share life, even the un-fun parts. Life hasn’t led us where we thought it might. Life hasn’t turned out how we thought it would. But, if you think about it, that’s something to celebrate, too.

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