This is going to be the first of a two-part post.
To be totally honest with you, I have started this post a few times this week, and I’ve started other posts in an attempt to avoid it, and I’ve ended up posting nothing, and not even finishing this post. Even now, I keep thinking that I should maybe take a nap before I finish up this post — telling myself that it would help me think more clearly, when really I know I’m just looking for a way out of it.
I don’t know why this post has been so hard for me to write.
I mean, I guess I do. This will be quite long (so long, in fact, that I’m splitting it up into two parts), with a lot of editing, re-wording, and sorting through my thoughts. It also has to do with the fact that what I’m about to talk about is a really emotional topic for women. It stirs up emotions of deep loyalty, love, and sisterhood. But it also brings up these really strong memories of betrayal, longing, insecurity, and loss.
I’ve been reading the book “Becoming Myself” by Staci Eldredge. I’ve posted some of my thoughts about the beginning of the book recently. This time, I’ve been really struck by one section in particular, and that is the portion about friendships.
Specifically…friendships between women.
The “part 1” part of this post is about good friendships.
I need to start with the good, because I don’t want to be misunderstood.
I am so blessed.
I am acutely aware a few times a day of how blessed I am to have the friends in my life that I currently do. They are, without a doubt, the best friends that I have ever had. Beyond acquaintances and the more casual friends, I have a couple different kinds of good friends that are a part of my life.
I have a friend that is as close to me as a sister. We were in the same Girl Scout troop, and grew super close in high school. I am not fortunate enough to talk to her on a regular basis. We live in different states, we have different paces of life (I have kids, and she does not), and we can’t see each other face-to-face unless we travel long distances to be together. But when we do…we have the best time, and it’s just like we are in high school all over again.
When I was in the hospital following a car accident, she didn’t ask questions. Without my asking, she just called in sick to work, got on a plane, and was at my bed by the end of the day. There is no doubt in my mind that we will forever be friends.
Another group of friends is the group that Ty and I have as friends together. It’s made up of a few families, and we “do life together”, as those fluent in Christian-ese would say. Our kids are all in the same range of ages, we live in the same area (with a minor exception), and we are all in the same stage of life. Birthday parties, Friday nights, sports teams, park playdates, game nights, you name it. It may not be everyone all together every time, but it’s usually some form of this group.
Just this morning, we had our soccer game cancelled (all of our kids are on the same team). Instead, in about 5 minutes via group text, we had changed plans and decided to throw together a brunch at our house. An hour later, my house was overflowing with people and french toast.
These are the people who bring the most enrichment to our lives as a family.
Beyond those friends, there is another group of women who know me to my core. They can sense when I’m frustrated, they know instinctively how an event will affect me (good or bad), and they see the things no one else sees in my life. I know that sometimes no words are necessary with these women. These are the women that feed my soul. And, I sincerely hope that I feed theirs.
Please understand me when I say this: I know that I am very blessed. I know that these kinds of friendships are rare. Having the gift of a variety of friends is rare and to be cherished.
I also know that this is not the case for every woman. I know that there is a lot of pain that is associated with different relationships with women — even within our own families.
Part 2 of the post is about the hardships experienced in the context of friendships — hurt, anger, judgement, inequality, loss.
I’ve been dealing with some of these kinds of friendships lately, and it’s been so emotionally draining, highlighting all of my insecurities, leaving me feeling so taken advantage of by women with whom I was once very close.
For now, I hope that you are able to take the time to soak in the blessings that are the friends God has placed in our lives.
“We need women with whom we can be honest about the realities of our lives, both the internal and external realities. We need women friends who offer us truth in return.”
— Staci Eldredge “Becoming Myself”
Click here for Part 2 of this post about friendships!
Do you have a friend from childhood with whom you are still close? Are there friends that you can call and just throw together a great day with each other?