Most of my rituals are practiced in solitude: morning prayer, daily exercise, flossing. My two communal rituals involve food: our family’s evening dinner and the ninety-five meals I’ve shared with the same three women over the past twenty-two years. While I’m hopeful that our family dinner is not simply about replenishing calories, I’m certain those ninety-five meals are about something more.

Kimberly, Margaret, Beth, and I all attended a small church in downtown Boston during the mid eighties. We had such similar backgrounds, temperaments, and faith journeys that friendship was inevitable. They were the obvious choice for bridesmaids and not long after they proceeded me down the aisle, we decided to make the relationship more intentional by connecting for dinner once a quarter. At the time, I had no idea how this soon-to-be ritual would teach me the meaning of friendship.

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