I don't like women, but I like my girlfriends.
Isn't that a puzzling thing to say?
When I think of women in the collective, I think of stupid, annoying, crazy, backstabbing, gossipy, materialistic, cruel, and terrible creatures. I think of all the times I've been the subject of some woman's harsh words and how much that stung. I don't like the idea of them. And yes, I recognize that I'm a woman. But, come on ladies, you know what I'm talking about here.
But, when I think of my girlfriends, I think of the warm, caring, compassionate ladies I know. I think of their qualities that I want to emulate. I think of their sympathetic ears, their genuineness, their transparency. I think of the laughter we share with each other and not at the expense of each other.
It's a wonderful thing to have a girlfriend or two or three.
I think back to the past few years and how much a particular friend or two made all the difference in my life. How work was a little more fun with the ladies I ate lunch with on a daily basis. We shared pregnancies, stories from the day (because there are always stories at school), fears of job eliminations, and just daily ins and outs of life.
I think about a friend who actually came as a bonus through my husband. Chris was friends with the couple first--and I got the perk of gaining a very close friend by marrying Chris. She and I have shared pregnancies, ski adventures, life issues, and just womanhood together. I don't see her nearly enough, and she's only about 3 miles from me. Life just tends to get in the way.
I think of particular friends from high school and college that I still keep in touch with. How I love to hear their stories and what's going on in their world. That we can still call and just say, "Hey" and they recognize your voice. It's wonderful to pick up the phone or fire off a quick email and not have to play catch up or explain things because they are from the same place you just came from.
I think about particular ladies at church who always make me smile. It's a little trickier finding true friends at church--there are some who think you're untouchable or somehow given a perfection wand when you're a minister's wife (hold on, let me stop laughing) . . .
Or there are those who want to be your friend for an "in" on church business or to keep up with "prayer requests" aka gossip. But, I've been blessed with a small circle of ladies who really care for one another and who would do just about anything for each other. We pray together, we laugh together, and we do life together.
This past year (and remember, I only think of my years from August forward--not the calendar year) has been a little more difficult for me. I lost one of my closest friends at the beginning of the school year. That was incredibly hard--and there are still moments I somehow forget she's not here. When I struggle with what to do with a situation, she's no longer there for me to call or email to ask for advice. When I just need some prayer she's no longer there. When I have a terribly funny story, she's not there to laugh with me. That's an awful reminder--not only do I still not have the answers I'm searching for, I'm given a cruel reminder that I've lost an important person in my world and I'm not going to see her until I also arrive in Heaven.
I also lost my confidant at work this past year. She and her husband were given an opportunity for a ministry far, far away from MACU. I'm delighted for her, but now I don't have that go-to person for work advice, stress release, or just plain old conversation. I have wonderful men that I work with, but for many reasons they can't be my closest work friends. I also have students that are great and compassionate, but they aren't (and cannot and should not be) my closest friends for many reasons. There are a few ladies at work, but we are in different spaces and places right now in regards to life and work.
So, it's just me and my baby grand piano keeping it real in office 123.
Last week I had a chance to visit with some old work friends from my days at Bethel School at a retirement party. It was so fun to see old faces and relive the good times. I laughed with them about certain situations and events that we shared--from discipline problems to just crazy kid moments. It was a stark reminder that not only do I need friendship in my world, but I need constant communication with my friends in order to survive. I looked around at all the ladies in the room and sighed with a slight bit of jealousy that I no longer have that in my life. That daily dose of laughter and giggles about everything and nothing all at the same time.
Right now I'm working with a group of ladies (I'm sure you've seen my daily pimping of 31 Rubies on Facebook and here on this blog, and seriously, if you haven't checked out the site, please, please, please go read the posts). I love that these are women that I really don't know well, but somehow in the past few months we've become sounding boards for one another. I like the fact that even though I've never met some of these women face-to-face, I can send them a message and know that they are immediately there to share in my struggles or cheer with me. It's a tremendous blessing.
So, if you have a friend you haven't talked to in a while, call her UP and let her know you love her.
Even if you only have 5 minutes of time between picking up the kids and getting dinner on the table and doing life, call her. Let her know you're alive and that you do care for her.
If I haven't learned anything at all in this past year (since August), I've learned to never take friendship for granted. Especially with those people that are most important to you.
More to come. . .