January 10, 2012

The Blessing of Friendship

Through structuring our time we hope to find balance amidst the chaos of our lives. The demands on our time just keep coming, and there are only so many usable hours in a day.

Sometimes we just need to “check out”, and that is what I did on Sunday. I spent the afternoon and evening with girlfriends, enjoying girl talk and taking a nature walk and seeing a movie that would be far too sappy for my rough and tough guys. Ah, yes, the blessings of a girlfriend day.

My family was a little bit surprised when I checked out of my familial responsibilities for one afternoon and evening. I received rather surprised looks from my boys when I finally came home. They hadn’t seen me since the morning at church, and I received some raised eyebrows and a few comments when I finally wandered home a couple of hours after dark. I could tell they were joking, and yet it is unusual for me not to be here and available for everyone.
The next day I was still smiling remembering the thoughts shared over lunch. There is joy in sharing the ideas on my heart, and I cherish how freely I can talk with my sweet friend. So many subjects were broached, and so many thoughts were shared. It occurred to me that none of the topics would have been something I would have enjoyed discussing with my husband, and that actually is a very good thing.

The balance we find by having friends in our lives who share our interests is a blessing that fills our spirit. We validate who we are when we are accepted and loved and are free to share the deepest thoughts on our hearts. It is different sharing with a girlfriend than with a spouse. No matter how understanding my husband is, he simply can’t relate to the way I see the world the way another woman can. And living in a completely male household, I need to have the companionship of someone who shares my perspective once in awhile.

Deep friendships are like spring rains. They wash away all the residual layers that life leaves on you, revealing a fresh openness. Releasing all the thoughts that I carry inside me is refreshing and satisfying, and lightens my load as I go forward. I love it when a friend opens her heart to me, and I get a glimpse into the part of herself that she holds so closely. It is an honor and a privilege to share in another person’s life story.

Friendship is a gift, joyously shared and greatly treasured. I wouldn’t want to do this life without my girlfriends. There was a time when I didn’t have close friends, and I felt very alone. If you are in this place, reach out to someone to begin a friendship. I remember telling my sons when they were younger, “To have friends, you need to be a friend.” It was an attempt to teach them to be accepting and non-judgmental and kind.

All of us walk our own life’s journey, but to share our insights and questions with someone who accepts us just as we are is a blessing and a joy. This is my wish for everyone, to know love and acceptance and the ability to share that part of yourself that is uniquely you.

"A friend loves at all times..." Proverbs 17:17

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