It seems like only yesterday no one was fresher than my clique, but these days cliques are all but extinct. They have been replaced by the infamous "squad," and this new "squad" is expected to have objectives and aspirations, essentially "squad goals." According to the ever reputable Urban Dictionary, a Squad Goal is as follows: (skwäd/ɡōl) (noun) (plural noun: squad goals): an inspirational term for what you’d like your group of friends to be or accomplish. Used best when placed at the end of a directional statement.
Now, maybe we have Taylor Swift to thank for this new jargon or perhaps the Kardashians started something and Taylor amped it up. It's often difficult to keep up with the celebrity lifestyle, but over the past few years I've realized I have quite the squad of my own. About a year and a half ago, my mom was admitted to the hospital. Within 24 hours, they put her on life support and told my family she probably wouldn't make it through the night. This was devastating news for all of us. Living across the country made it all the more traumatic. I booked the next flight home, and amazingly, my mom lived through the night. For the next week, we'd hear the same story from different doctors. She won't make it through the hour. She won't make it through the surgery. She won't make it. Because of the uncertainty of the situation, my sisters and I refused to leave the hospital. That was our mom, not just another patient, not just another statistic.
Fortunately, we didn't need to leave the hospital to feel the power of our squads. We were never alone. One night over 40 people had a "sleepover" with us at the hospital. Two of my best friends in the whole world were the epitome of "squad goals." Ethan was in law school at the time and currently clerking with a local judge, but every day he showed up at the hospital. Sometimes he brought donuts or tacos, sometimes he brought laughter and words of wisdom. He prayed with me, and encouraged me with scripture and his own perspective. Ethan helped me write the mission statement for By Grace, edit documents, and update my life goals-pretty much anything I needed to distract me from the horror of the scene around me. If you don't have an Ethan in your squad, you need to rectify that immediately.
My other high school (and lifelong) best friend Allison drove all the way to Lexington, Kentucky from Chicago to be with me. For a week straight she didn't leave my side. She slept on hospital couches for seven nights in a row. If that's not friendship, I don't know what is. She held me when I cried, brought me Ocean Waters from Sonic when I wouldn't eat anything, and bought me fresh clothes when I refused to leave the hospital to do laundry. With Allison, I don't have to talk. She knows what I am thinking with one look, and was perfectly satisfied sitting in silence just so that I wasn't alone. Allison is the perfect squad member. (Is squad member a thing?)
My Little sister in my sorority drove to the hospital from Evansville, Indiana (a 3 hour drive) just to spend one afternoon with me. She made cupcakes and sat with me knowing I was too exhausted to update everyone on Mom's latest numbers and her ever terrifying chances of survival. My friend Katy came to the hospital every day to pray with me. My friend Jenny brought me soap, towels, and makeup so I could shower (without leaving the hospital) and feel somewhat human again. The list goes on and on of people who showed up for me in what would end up being the worst month of my life. However, my mom lived! And I was able to witness such selflessness, kindness, and empathy that I will forever thank God for that month. It was miserable, and I would never wish such a draining experience on my worst enemy; but in my darkest hour, my squad was there for me.
We may not travel the world as the celebrity entourages do, but I know that my lifelong friends are the ones who have not only seen me at my lowest points, but have loved me through them. For me, my "squad goals" are pretty simple. I want to take the people I am fortunate enough to call my friends and love them wholeheartedly. I want to take nothing for granted. I want to be the friend who drives 8 hours at a moment's notice, who comes bearing pastries, who stays up all night, who talks you through every scenario and is quiet when you need a break. I want to be there for my squad the way they were there for me, because after all is said and done, isn't that why we have a squad (/clique/ entourage/ inner circle)?
Until next time,