Reading each other’s journals

“A good friend knows all your best stories, but a best friend has lived them with you.”

We were headed home from Tennessee, preparing ourselves to step back into reality. Buddy handed me her journal—her heart placed on pages describing our week together. I handed her mine.

I cracked open the beautiful book, noticing her incredible penmanship. I sunk into my chair knowing that mine looked like scattered thoughts, scratch marks, and misspellings. I pushed inadequate feelings aside and got lost in my best friend’s recollections.

Side by side and snuggled into our airplane chairs, I heard her laugh. She heard my tears. She touched my arm and kept reading my words. I chuckled. She sniffled. 

We both had written about our feelings of peace and serenity at Emert’s Cove. At one point I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! I forgot about the rocks.” Buddy had wrote about stacked rocks in the riverbed. I wrote about a huge grouping of butterflies that huddled at the river’s edge, which she’d forgotten about. We both had various stories that the other had not remembered. It reminded me of the Gospel accounts—where some recorded stories are in one gospel, but not the other…which proves the authenticity of the Bible.

We both loved similar things about our time together—The music flair of Nashville…The Grand Ole Opry…laughter…singing and dancing at the honky tonk bars… the long drive to Gatlinburg, where Buddy “broadened my horizons” and shifted my heart to love some Country Music…the beauty of the Smoky Mountains…the sense of old America and the politeness of people…Graceland…the sadness of steeping back into time in Memphis, while standing in front of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed…

All of it, so magical and wonderful. But the best part of my time in Tennessee was just being with Buddy. Exhaling, because with her, I can truly be me. Comfort. Love. Acceptance. That’s what I feel when I’m with her.

Before I returned her journal, I wrote some words in it. It felt invasive to insert my words next to hers. But I needed her to know how I felt.  

She’s a place where the world’s darkness lightens into laughter. A space where life’s sorrows melt into meaning and purpose. 

I can’t wait until our yearly trip next year where I expect to learn deeper depths of myself. And discover more profoundness within my best friend.


  1. Julieann Whittaker on August 30, 2019 at 9:06 am

    The memories with you will be kept in my heart forever

    • Dawna Hetzler on August 30, 2019 at 10:49 am

      Me too!

  2. Denise on August 30, 2019 at 9:18 am

    What a great experience. I love that you have someone so special in each other’s lives.

    • Dawna Hetzler on August 30, 2019 at 10:49 am

      thanks, Denise!

  3. Sandy marthaler on August 30, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    So special! I really like the idea of reading each other’s journals and plan on borrowing that idea for sure! Your words truly bought alive how special your friendship is! What an enormous blessing!

    • Dawna Hetzler on August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      Thank you, Sista!

  4. Debora Dellinger on August 31, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    If only each of us had time (each year) to have this incredible experience with a friend…With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! What if we prayed for each JG to develop this kind of friendship with one friend and then pray for the time and finances to make a trip happen away together! Most women only hope to have time away with their families and that isn’t possible due to schedules or finances…I can only imagine what power each JG would have in their life with time away to relax, step away and take in what God would have them experience with this kind of friendship – what power we would have to serve our loved ones, our communities, our church family and others! I can only hope to have ‘such a gift’ that the two of you have. I am inspired each time I hear one of your stories with your ‘buddy’, Buddy! Thank you again for sharing! 🙂 With this said, as you know Dawna, my intent is to share what God has blessed me with. What if Tom and I made a way for JG’s to have time away like the two of you have? I have been once again so inspired with your story that I would like to share Tom and I’s two retreat homes starting a “BUDDY RETREAT in 2020 and then each year following If there are JG’s out there that desire a place to escape but they don’t have the finances to do so…what if Tom and I give a week-end away to 6 “Girl-Friend Pairs’ to start building and experiencing what you have developed over the years with Buddy? Starting in 2020 I want to draw names from a ‘pool of JG’s’ that respond to this post if they are interested. I will be at the Overwhelmed Conference in October…I would love to meet with JG’s that are interested in this God inspired idea! I will begin praying and planing a 2020 start to ‘BUDDY FRIENDSHIPS’ here in the beautiful mountains of Black Hawk, Colorado! I’ll wait to hear if others are interested. Please pray for direction and for all our friendships to grow into the beauty they can be…God has truly orchestrated Dawna and Buddy’s special bond – AGAIN, WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! I am ready to see where this takes us 🙂 Who is in! ???

    • Dawna Hetzler on August 31, 2019 at 12:19 pm

      Wow, Debora! This is an amazing offer. Let’s talk about how we can promote this at the conference this year. I LOVE how you follow GOD’s leading. Love you, girl!

    • Sari Cobb on September 2, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      What a beautiful gift that would be! I am sure there are a number of us out there that have a “Buddy” we rarely get to see, let alone spend quality time with. I am blessed by your willingness to share such a grand opportunity!

      • Dawna Hetzler on September 3, 2019 at 9:04 am


        We hope you can join us in our “Buddy Retreat” time.